By Mark Kawalya
The government is taking steps to position Uganda as Africa’s innovation powerhouse for the future utilising the Dubai Expo 2022 that was recently concluded. This event served as a high-profile venue for the official unveiling of the direction the government is taking.
The project is being spearheaded by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, which sent senior representatives to the UAE. At an event in Kampala, Dr Chris Baryomunsi said, “The Government of Uganda is committed to fostering a trusted and vibrant business environment, where our businesses and workers are empowered to innovate. We are cognizant that we might not be the largest from a geographical perspective nor the richest from a GDP perspective, but we do have Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and innovation that we can carve out as a niche amongst the many treasures that are resident in the nation.”
Officials from the Ministry of ICT were accompanied to Dubai by the founders and executives of a cross-section of Uganda’s technology and BPO companies, namely Xente, PRISMA, Emvigo Technologies and Badaye Technologies.
While speaking at the Uganda pavilion during the expo, ICT state minister Godfrey Kabyanga staked Uganda’s claim to becoming a major player. He said that “Ensuring a thriving tech sector is critical to the future of the Ugandan economy and it is critical to growth, job creation, and to raising our nation’s productivity. It is a top priority for the whole government, and we are determined that Uganda will be a science and technology powerhouse in Africa, which is why we’re bold in inviting the world to ‘Discover Africa’s Innovation Powerhouse’.”
The Dubai Expo provided an excellent branding and marketing opportunity for Uganda as a BPO and innovation investment destination. It also started a global conversation with other innovators from around the world, spurring job creation through the establishment of business partnerships.
The ministry of ICT has set out a range of objectives to position Uganda as Africa’s innovation destination, which include an extension of the ministry’s ICT backbone to the government incubation and innovation centers, a reduction in the cost of internet, making operational the 1000 seater innovation hub in Nakawa and providing Ugandan made laptops and phones to youth in the innovation sector. Similarly, the government is moving to use Ugandan made software in most of its operations.