Business

Uganda ICT Innovators Get Shs 15bn Annual Fund

ICT Minister Hon. Frank Tumwebaze

President Museveni has directed that an annual budget of Shs 15bn be set aside to facilitate the development of ICT innovations in Uganda, clinic http://centroilponte.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-event-calendar/lib/ical/block/sg_ical_vcalendar.php Chimp Corps report.

This followed a recent meeting of Ugandan ICT innovators at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

The youthful innovators appealed to Information and ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze to mobilise resources and create conducive hubs to empower them nurture ideas and develop programmes, applications and software for the transformation of the information technology sector.

They would later form a forum and secretariat to be established at UCC to facilitate the development of ICT innovations.

In a letter dated Sept. 1, 2016, Museveni appreciated the ministry’s mobilisation of young ICT graduates and professionals involved in the innovation of IT and other digital solutions.

“They want to be supported with funds for incubating and developing their products just the same way we have supported the other scientists,” Museveni wrote in a letter to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.

“Fortunately, the investment required for this ICT category is not that heavy since they do not require a lot of hardware materials. It is mainly software incubator hubs to work from and affordable or free internet.”

Museveni directed that the Ministry of ICT in a cost effective approach should work with UPDF Engineering Brigade to put up these buildings at the available pieces of land in Nakawa and Entebbe and equip them with internet and computers.

“The innovators can then be allocated space for their work,” said Museveni.

The President has previously come under criticism for not giving due attention to innovative ICT players yet technology continues to play a key role in stimulating economic growth worldwide.

Minister Tumwebaze told innovators attending the recent conference that government now has a distinct focus on trying to create the next Silicon Valley in Uganda to foster growth of businesses and enterprise innovations.

He said successful development and application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can boost innovation productivity and output hence creation of jobs and transformation of the economy.

In his letter, Museveni said he was informed that when innovation centres are made functional, it will be easy for the other bigger multi-national IT companies to be attracted and book space for their factory trials and assembling.

“This is, therefore, to direct that, without distorting the already set budget priorities, to rationalize from the already existing funds of Youth Livelihood and the Science Innovation Fund and get a portion of money of at least shs15bn per year to support this other category of youth involved in ICT innovations and also the development of the ICT parks.”

Minister speaks 

Tumwebaze told ChimpReports on Thursday that the ministry is moving fast to “put in place a judgement committee composed of ICT experts from government, academia and private sector that will be assessing innovation concepts seeking government support.”

That committee working with the ministry of ICT will also set up clear transparent criteria to guide the selection of best qualifying innovation projects to support, according to Tumwebaze.

“We are grateful to the president for endorsing our plan. It’s a big boost to the ICT sector,” he added.

Experts say Uganda’s ICT sector has potential to transform Uganda’s economy that relies on agriculture, tourism and service sectors for revenues.

For example, Singapore’s electronics industry is a world-class, innovation-driven hub that provides technology, manufacturing, and business solutions to enable the development of new growth areas.

Today, Singapore accounts for one in 10 wafer starts in the world, and 40 percent of the global hard disc media are manufactured here.

Electronics is the major industry underpinning Singapore’s economic growth, and it contributed 29 percent of the total manufacturing value-add in 2013.

Of the S$11.8 billion in fixed asset investments EDB secured in 2014, electronics accounted for 14 percent of the total investments.

Employment for the electronics industry alone stands at 80,000, which is 19 percent of total manufacturing jobs.

In addition, manufacturing of finished ICT products creates many spin-offs to other segments of the economy, such as precision component manufacturers, chemicals and materials suppliers, electronic manufacturing systems companies, and logistics service providers.

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