President Yoweri Museveni has assured Ugandans that; technology is no longer a choice but necessity, where Government is committed to work towards eliminating import solutions in the IT Sector, where such money should be diverted to local innovators.
The President made the remarks while officiating as Guest of Honor at the ICT Innovations Expo 2019, held at the Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology, in Kampala on Tuesday
“I have officially launched the ICT Innovations Expo 2019. I visited different exhibition stalls and I must commend Ugandans who are embracing technology as a game-changer in the face of human and global needs”, he said. President Museveni congratulated a one William Wasswa, whose innovation is about easily identifying cervical cancer amongst women.
“I have also seen a digital hospital where patients can be examined, and diagnosed in just minutes. I must say I am greatly impressed by the step Uganda is taking towards technology. There will always be money to fund local innovations. Once you show that we can use it, we can then show the money”, he added.
He in addition commended MTN Uganda for scrapping internet Data expiry dates, saying: “I do not understand why there was an expiry date in the first place, because this is paid for service and it should not be taken away until its money value is diminished. Nonetheless, that is a move in the right direction”. He said Government has worked with the Chinese to build the ICT backbone, the underground cables which can take all the data because the satellite system was really expensive.
While addressing Journalists recently; ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze said the event was an opportunity to market indigenous technology and promote ‘mature’ applications.
“We no longer need to procure expensive IT products from abroad or else if we do, not to continue paying for licenses or maintenance of foreign applications,” he stated. Ugandans are increasingly taking centre stage in developing cutting edge innovations in ICTs with the potential to transform the way of life. In June last year, Brian Gitta, a computer science graduate won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for developing a bloodless malaria diagnostic kit, fetching £25,000 (sh124m).
The Ministry of ICT and National Guidance has been implementing the National ICT Initiatives Support Program (NIISP) since 2017. The main objective of this program is to develop the ICT Innovation ecosystem in order to create jobs and to promote the adoption of ICT Innovations and locally developed systems in Government and the private sector.
One of the components of this program is to offer support to local ICT Innovators to access both local and international markets. Ministry of ICT and National Guidance through the National ICT Initiatives Support Program (NIISP) has so far held two Annual ICT Innovation Awards where 72 ICT innovators were given financial support to assist them develop their systems to maturity, build enterprises and penetrate the market.
The support so far has been over 15 Billion Uganda Shillings in form of direct financial support or support through the local ICT Innovation Hubs. The ICT Innovation Hubs provide training, mentorship and placements; the Ministry is currently working with, HiveColab, Resilient Africa Network (RAN), Makerere Incubation and Innovation Center (MIIC), CAMTech, Outbox, Innovation Village among others.
Government has also embarked on building ICT Innovation hubs and workspaces countrywide to support efforts to increase ICT Innovation. The hubs will intensify creativity to transform Uganda’s economy. The first hub is located at UICT Nakawa and the next ones shall be in the different regions of the Country.
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