Uganda unveiled as Africa’s Innovation Powerhouse

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The Ministry of ICT & National Guidance has announced the innovators and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) practitioners that will represent Uganda during the Innovation Week at the Dubai Expo 2020. The Innovation week will run from the 22nd – 27th March 2022.

Themed Discover Africa’s Innovation Powerhouse, the Government will celebrate Ugandan excellence and industry by profiling Ugandan talent and inviting the world to discover the opportunities abound in the Pearl of Africa. The campaign will also highlight how innovations by Ugandans have created solutions to the various societal challenges.

The main objectives of the Expo are branding and marketing Uganda as a BPO & Innovation investment destination, engaging in a global conversation with other innovators from around the world, and job creation through great partnerships.

Addressing the media, the Permanent Secretary – Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, Dr. Aminah Zawedde, said, ‘we are committed to growing the innovators & BPO practitioners and providing growth opportunities for them. The Dubai Expo 2020 is the ‘World Cup’ of innovation & BPO, having our young people present is an opportunity we couldn’t let pass.’

‘We thank the various partners Huawei Uganda, MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, NBS TV, UBC, Vision Group, Cente Tech & TBWA Uganda, who joined us in making Uganda’s participation at the Innovation week a reality. Let us show the world that indeed, Uganda is Africa’s Innovation Powerhouse,’ she concluded. 

While in Dubai at the Expo, the innovators will indulge in business-to-business meetings, business-to-government meetings and also showcase the value proposition of Uganda to the world to enhance investment, tourism, and trade.

Uganda’s participation in the Dubai Expo 2020 will be an opportunity to illustrate its national aspirations in promoting digitalization, innovation and its ability to connect people. Additionally, the physical presence of the innovators/BPO practitioners at the Dubai Expo will be an opportunity for marketing Ugandan innovations and position them to benefit export opportunities for the Ugandan enterprises in the global market. 

The selection of the innovators that will represent Uganda will be chosen from a pool of those that expressed interest and responded to the national call that the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance issued on 28th January 2022, in print, digital and radio media.  

The adjudication and award of place on Team Uganda was done by the National BPO and Innovation Council, led by Prof. William Bazeyo. 

Commenting during the launch, Hon Chris Baryomunsi, Minister of ICT and National Guidance 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 curve out as a niche amongst the many treasures that are resident in the nation.’  

The Ministry of ICT & National Guidance is committed to building technology infrastructure and spurring a digital culture, essential enablers for inclusive and sustainable development of Uganda. 

The team that will represent Uganda at the Dubai Expo includes: 

Xente is a Ugandan founded Financial technology company. They offer a digital account that businesses use to make/accept payments and automate finance operations – all in one. Companies like Jumia, Mkopa, NSSF, and others use Xente to make and manage company payments and finance. 9/10 businesses in Uganda are unbanked or underbanked. That means they cannot participate in formal commerce or the new digital economy. Xente enables all Ugandan businesses to have an account that they can use to make/accept payments from suppliers, teams, and other beneficiaries, locally and globally. Today businesses waste time and money using old payment instruments like cash and cheques as well as doing lots of paperwork and manual work just to make basic payments. 

 When they then need financial services like credit, there are no records so they do more manual paperwork. This wastes valuable business time and money. Xente as a Fintech company facilitates cross-border, cashless payments between businesses. This makes trade faster, cheaper, and more transparent

OncaPlanta is leveraging indigenous Ugandan knowledge to become the leading developer of natural cosmetic oils for the global market under the brand Moo me Gen (Oils of Hope). They produce shea butter, moringa seed, desert date, and marula nut oil in a state-of-the-art factory in Otuke. Moo me Gen has over 6000 shea nut collectors, moringa farmers who supply Oncaplanta with raw materials for our factory. They create income and employment opportunities along the value chain.

Further, more oncaplanta purchases most of its inputs from Ugandan companies like Nice House of Plastics, best park, Matugga and also support new companies that are producing natural hair and skin cares products in Uganda and beyond. Currently, they are working with 6 natural cosmetics companies in Uganda, Kenya, Germany, South Africa, and Canada. OncaPlanta was started to transform lives and conserve nature through the creation of high-quality natural products for the world market. By using Oncaplanta shea, you get the best nourishment for your skin while improving the livelihoods of communities in Northern Uganda. 

Badaye Technologies limited produces a touchless kit (TW20) to support access to water and handwashing with soap in public facilities while collecting and tracking real-time data of handwashes. They envision leading in smart, safe, and data-driven preventive health and WASH in East Africa by 2025. Over 40.9% of the population in public facilities in Uganda do not handwash. Existing handwash stations permit contact and are potentially contagious with no data for owners and authorities to track real-time traffic, compliance, or forecasts of public health risks. TW20 kit addresses all the mentioned.

Environmental impact-The TW-20 Kit technology utilizes renewable energy to support its functionality. Solar energy is a clean source with no greenhouse gas emissions thus contributing to environmental conservation. 

Social benefits-Most publicly shared spaces including hospitals and markets are primarily government-owned, offering free or highly subsided services and thus lack enough capacity to ensure in-house diligent hand hygiene yet they are surrounded by and attract the majority population comprising of vulnerable low-income earners, living below the optimum standards of living and may define effective handwashing with soap a luxury. Therefore, the TW-20 kit offers an opportunity to the non-educated and informal population to unconsciously adhere to proper hand hygiene guidelines including time spent hand washing, manners, and necessities required for diligent hand hygiene.

Emvigo Technologies specializes in Software Development, Call center solutions & BPO services. The vision is building value propositions with the ability to provide customized delivery solutions based on the requirements & enabling process improvements using industry benchmarks & quality processes. Emvigo is helping companies create better working relationships with their customers through effective and efficient communication.

Through their call center, Emvigo gets to interact with the customers of different businesses and offer support that many of them may require which in the end improves the customer-business relationship that leads to business growth.

Protecting Infants Remotely by SMS (PRISMS) is a mobile platform designed to empower frontline health workers in making treatment and investigation decisions for sick newborns. 

The vision is to reduce neonatal mortality in Uganda and across Africa. 

African countries contribute 90% of the 2.5 million neonatal deaths that happen globally. In Uganda, the neonatal mortality rate remains unacceptably high at 27 deaths per 1000 live births and 90% of the bulk of sick newborn care management decisions are made by medical officers, nurses, and or midwives who have inadequate training to make management decisions for sick and at-risk newborn babies. The technology empowers such health workers to manage sick newborns. Based on the size of the market in Uganda, we are targeting an estimated 1,188 Health Centre IIIs (HCIIIs), 193 Health Centre IVs (HCIVs), 133 district-level health facilities, 12 regional health facilities, and 3 national health facilities. The market size of PRISMS is also composed of pre-service individuals that are; Year 3 and Year 5 medical students who have a component of newborn care in their curriculum. PRISMS is currently working in facilities in Uganda.