Keeping Up With Technology – News
Through business process outsourcing and innovation, the country aims to increase penetration and expand access to ICT, one of the fastest growing sectors in Uganda.
As any steadfast progressive nation aspires, Uganda is building a reliable and efficient information and communications technology (ICT) sector to stay on par with the global digital transformation.
True to these aspirations, business process outsourcing (BPO) and innovation have carved out their place among the many treasures that reside in this country. In fact, Uganda’s Vision 2040 identifies ICT as one of the key fundamentals as well as the opportunity to spur the nation’s transformation into a modern and prosperous country.
The availability of the workforce, Internet connectivity, affordable Internet access, digital environments, well-equipped and innovative ecosystems are determining factors of the ICT sector, one of the most competitive and rapidly growing sectors. fastest growing country. ICT services alone contribute 2.5% of Uganda’s GDP, experiencing steady annual growth.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance Dr Aminah Zawedde said: “The growth and competitiveness of the sector has attracted global players to explore the Ugandan market and support its innovation ecosystem. There are also a growing number of local companies with notable international experience.
Dr Aminah further explains that ICTs have been mainstreamed into most of the country’s future development visions and plans, also instilling the United Nations call to action, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The aspiration of the 2030 Agenda under SDG 9 is to dramatically increase access to information and communication technologies and to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet,” he said. she declared.
“In addition, SDG 17 aims to improve the use of enabling technologies, in particular information and communications technologies. Likewise, the ambition of Agenda 2063 (Objective 10) is to double the penetration of ICTs and their contribution to the country’s GDP. In addition to this, the aspiration of the East African Community (EAC) Vision 2050 is to strengthen ICT capacities to encourage innovation and increase competitiveness.
“The government has adopted ICT as one of the tools to stimulate the socio-economic transformation of the country as a means to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services to citizens. This is well embedded in national policy and planning frameworks such as the Uganda Vision 2040, the National Development Plan (NDP) III (FY2020 / 21 – FY2024 / 25), the Manifesto of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) 2021 – 2026 and the Digital Vision of Uganda (DUV). ”
High quality and employability of the workforce
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitiveness Index, on a scale of one to seven (7 excellent), Uganda scores 4.4 for its ease in finding skilled workers (on finding talent with digital skills ).
Uganda has one of the youngest populations in Africa, with 69% of the population under the age of 24. There are more than 30,000 young people who leave universities each year in the country, those who are fluent in English and ICT. .
Additionally, Uganda is ranked in the top percentile of African countries linked and growing with digital potential, in accordance with Business Process Outsourcing.
Recently, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) ranked Uganda 12th in Africa, with a score above the regional average in technology and governance. The UNCDF indicated that the performance of Uganda’s policy and regulatory environment, as assessed by the Inclusive Digital Economy Dashboard (IDES), a strategic performance tool, is consistent with other global comparative sources.
“As a government, we continue to ensure that all related cyber laws and regulations are administered effectively to improve businesses and industries and, most importantly, to drive the growth of the innovation industry.
“In addition, Uganda has set up an ICT assembly plant that provides low cost, high quality cell phones and laptops. This factory produces 1,300,000 devices per year. This allowed the entry into BPO of our young people because of the low cost of entry ”, adds Dr Aminah.
Innovation building infrastructure
The country has also achieved a lot in terms of connectivity. Coverage is mainly provided by wireless networks, in particular mobile platforms. Internet subscriptions in Uganda have passed the 20 million mark, suggesting that nearly one in two Ugandans have Internet access.
Mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 1.2 million from 18.9 million at the end of June 2020 to 20.12 million in September and there were 30,486 fixed Internet subscriptions. There is significant 4G and 3G coverage across the country.
The government, through the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, has invested over the years in the establishment of infrastructure and secure information systems via the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI ). The ministry has created a secure broadband network that connects most of Uganda.
Dr Aminah said: “So far we have built 4000 km of optical fiber and over the next three years we plan to connect the whole country with more optical fiber. “
The NBI and the Electronic Government Infrastructure (EGI) project provide network connectivity in 53 districts to 1,353 government sites which include offices, schools, hospitals, courts, universities, police departments and governments premises which are now able to use high-speed connectivity and access through 333 e-government services.
The NBI / EGI facilitated regional connectivity across 10 border points via Entebbe, Vurra, Oraba, Goli, Mpondwe, Malaba, Busia, Mutukula, Katuna and Elegu, thus promoting trade and cross-border relations. By creating this nationwide network and stimulating the development of e-government services, the government, through the NBI / EGI, has helped facilitate business across the region.
In order to reduce what would be seen as barriers to the establishment of BPO or innovation, the government has lowered the cost of the Internet. “During this 2021/2022 fiscal year, the government will reduce the cost to $ 25 for every 1 Mbps of dedicated Internet. The government’s goal for BPO / Innovation is to buy the Internet at $ 5 for every 1 Mbps of dedicated Internet, ”says Dr. Aminah.
Well-equipped data centers and digital ecosystems
With the growth in the use and storage of data and the wider digital transformation of businesses and the public sector in Uganda, the government has also established the first tier three data center and a data recovery site supporting the growth and digitization of the Ugandan economy. The money doesn’t end there, however. The government plans to build more data centers across the country, with regional points of presence to improve the Internet service experience.
“For innovation, regulation can be a catalyst or a barrier. In Uganda, we made sure that the regulations we put in place were catalytic. Our laws and regulations are agile, iterative and collaborative, ”explains Dr Aminah.
Innovation hubs connect young entrepreneurs, programmers, designers and investors and facilitate growth and collaborations in the innovation ecosystem. Many centers in Uganda focus on supporting technical innovation, such as co-working spaces, product labs, hackathons, boot camps, design sprints, and design-centric design. human (user) to help innovators and entrepreneurs reach their markets.
“These innovation hubs offer a range of services ranging from e-commerce and e-health to financial technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, regardless of the technology used and applied in Uganda.
“Innovation is an accelerator, an amplifier and an amplifier of change. It has enormous potential to improve national productivity by making government and business enterprises more efficient, effective and competitive globally, ”said Dr Aminah.
“Uganda is open for business – let’s talk about it. We are certain that whatever the aspiration of the tech company, we are the right partner for you.