By Brandy Valentine Azeirwe
The Minister of State for ICT, Hon. Joyce Ssebugwawo announced the appointment of a Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) and Innovation Council. The council will work with the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance to formulate strategies for creating jobs for the youth through ICT outsourcing and Innovation, prescribe regulatory frameworks/reforms and projects relevant to the growth of the BPO and Innovation industry. The council will also identify, support, and scale-up breakthrough technologies and disruptive innovations.
Hon. Ssebugwawo was joined by Hon. Kabbyanga Godfrey Baluku, State Minister for National Guidance, Dr. Aminah Zawedde, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance along with members of the BPO and Innovation Council. The event was moderated by Mr. Watasa Moses, Commissioner for Communication and information dissemination of the ministry.
Dr. Zawedde opened the event expressing the delight of the culmination of what has been a laborious journey in identifying the right experience pool that can help the nation fight the issue of youth unemployment. She shared the interventions the ministry is going to undertake to ensure support to the BPO and Innovation council in the execution of their duties. These include branding Uganda as a BPO destination and innovation hub of excellence, incentivizing participation in the BPO and Innovation ecosystem, BPO Law and legislation, development of technology parks in all regions of the country, and conducting training.
‟We shall also conduct a Human resource skill assessment and requirement development which includes gap analysis, building standards, curriculum design, and accreditation mechanism. This will enhance the building of a trained human resource pool that will benefit employers searching for ready and talented skill forces.” Dr. Zawedde acknowledged.
Hon. Ssebugwawo then inaugurated the BPO and Innovation Council led by chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo. On top of that, she made some directives to ensure that the team delivers on an enabling environment to spur the rapid growth of the BPO and Innovation sector. The directives include reduction of cost of internet, an extension of the ministry ICT backbone to the government incubation and innovation centers, operationalization of the 1000-seater innovation hub in Nakawa, development of a mechanism to allow the youth already in innovation centers to access Ugandan made laptops and phones from the ICT assembly factory in Namanve and government proclamation to use software developed by Ugandan entities.
‟My technical people have informed me that the Uganda ICT sector is one of the most competitive and fastest-growing sectors in the country. ICT services alone contribute 2.5% of Uganda’s GDP, and this is growing each year. We need this to translate into more jobs for our young people.” Hon. Ssebugwawo disclosed.
Hon. Kabbyanga was happy to announce that the council will now participate in the affairs of national innovation days. In closing, he said, ‟We do not doubt that you are going to perform even beyond our expectations, the ministry of ICT & National guidance is here to support you all the way.”
Taking everything into account, Hon. Ssebugwawo said BPO and Innovation should create at least 100,000 jobs within the next three years.