Mkutano Economic Forum Zeroes on promoting Innovation for Economic growth

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Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation addressing participants at the Mkutano Economic Forum on Thursday
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The Second Mkutano Economic Forum 2019 was concluded on Thursday in Kampala Sheraton Hotel, with a call on participants to promote Innovation, to realize socio-economic development.

Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in his opening remarks said: “Currently, we are setting up a steering committee that will help us find innovations that lead to job creation. In the future, we shall establish a machining and manufacturing centre, and the National Technology Innovation Centre in Sanga to make automotive spare parts,”. He said his Ministry is committed to supporting domestic value addition, to translate innovations into viable commercial projects.

Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina, a Johannesburg based Scholar- Practitioner, who mainly works on Urban Planning and Governance issues, was the Keynote Speaker at the forum. She said innovation helps to address social and environmental challenges.

“Innovation also contributes to economic growth and job creation, leads to improved competitiveness and is a major reason why growth rates differ at the firm, regional and national level”, she added.

She pointed out that; innovation helps to address social and environmental challenges; “Impact of innovation varies depending on the development stage. Earlier stages are based on incremental or process innovation aimed at adapting foreign technology for effective use, intermediate stage is based on consolidating previous efforts and aims at duplicative and creative imitation and starting local technological capabilities, while the late stage is based on domestic generation of technology aimed at establishing a local sustained technological base and a high-tech industry for competitive advantage,” she added. She said innovation is the backbone of modern economies through livability, growth and sustainability.

“Innovation matters because it creates development as Freedom, innovation as Capability and anchors the foundations for innovation. This leads to a dynamic business sector, macro-economic stability, trade and investment, competition policy, tax policy, markets that encourage innovation and mobilize private funding for innovation through well-functioning financial markets,” she stressed.

David Bikhado Ofungi, Founder and CEO of DERO and curator said; Uganda has for long been hailed as a highly entrepreneurial society.

“What stands out for Uganda as well is her young workforce and pool of able and motivated entrepreneurs. Multiple enablers need to be in place for enterprise to thrive from tax regimes that speak to the form of risk capital being deployed, formal banking products that chart the path towards intangible knowledge-based assets, such as Intellectual Property (IP) as collateral, and the homegrown innovation that speaks both to opportunities nuanced on the local dynamic and the international market,” said Ofungi.

He added that; the Economic Mkutano comes at a time when headwinds are challenging business convention in the Uganda private sector.

“You either innovate or die. There are more components that inform entrepreneurial success but innovation has the best correlation between the entrepreneurship and the longevity of enterprise,” stressed Ofungi.

Mkutano is a Gathering for a Purpose where open debate leads to solutions. The Second Mkutano provided a day of high-level intellectual stimulation along with a wealth of client acquisition opportunities. The forum was conducted under the theme, ‘Innovation as a pillar for economic growth.’

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