Commissioning the Infrastructure and e-Government Services – H.E The President of the Republic of Uganda

Your Excellency the Vice President;

Rt. Honorable Speaker of Parliament;

Your Lordship the Chief Justice;

Rt. Honorable Deputy Speaker of Parliament;

Honorable Ministers;

Honorable Members of Parliament;

Your Excellencies the Ambassadors and High Commissioners;

The Chairperson National Youth Council and Your Executive Committee;

The Youth Fraternity;

Religious and Cultural Leaders;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I do salute all of you the people of Uganda and especially the Youth whose day we come here to commemorate as we reflect on their numerical strength and potential to be agents of fundamental change aimed at transforming the 39% of our people in subsistence agriculture. Under PDM, our target is to upgrade these people and see them pushed into the money economy. It should be abominable for any young person to become a subsistence farmer. That must become a chapter in our political economy books that once upon a time, there lived a people who used to produce only for Ekidha.

All the progressive youth leaders of Uganda must resolve that their grand parents and their parents are the last cohort of Ugandans to work only for Ekidha!! Society metamorphosizes when people are producing enough to eat and have surplus for the market. Every Ugandan must have capacity to earn some money to purchase basic necessities and make some investments in credible enterprises.

Therefore, our goal under PDM is to increase household incomes and improve quality of life of Ugandans with specific focus on total transformation of the subsistence households (39% – 3.5million households, 17.5m people)- both on farm and off farm in rural and urban settings into the money economy, as well as eradication of poverty and vulnerability in Uganda.

While deepening decentralization and devolution to support development and planning at the Parish level, our strategy as Government is to promote increased incomes through modernization of agriculture, industrialization and information communication and technology. It is a good coincidence that on this same day, I am commissioning the regional ICT Infrastructure and E-government services.

It is important for all people of Uganda to get to know and appreciate that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) together with ICT enables the acceleration of the entire economy and this supports the digital transformation and the move towards digital (smart) health, digital (Smart) agriculture, digital (smart) manufacturing, digital (Smart) cities among other. Our goal has been and remains that of increasing the application of appropriate technology in the production and service delivery processes through the development of a well-constructed STI eco-system.

I am, therefore, happy that the theme for this years’ International Youth Day; “Intergenerational solidarity: The role of the youth in the implementation of the Parish Development Model’’ is cognizant of our current focus as Government under the PDM which is a Government approach to social-economic transformation in a consolidated and comprehensive way.  

I would like to encourage all youth leaders to play a significant role under the PDM, mobilise the masses, enhance financial literacy for households, innovate, participate in trainings to build capacities, promote Civic education, leverage the power of ICT, encourage formation of SACCOs and participate in infrastructural development.

The PDM needs thinkers, creators and innovators – let us kick poverty from our midst together, – let subsistence production and poverty be our enemy number one. Every Ugandan must do everything possible under PDM to tame the fangs of poverty and rescue the about 3.5million families from subsistence agriculture.

As we consolidate our gains as government, we shall continue to build bridges between our generations to ensure intergenerational harmony, peace and tranquility. 

In recognition of the transformation agenda of the NRM Government and given the dominance of agriculture as a source of livelihood, government has prioritized Agro-Industralisation that offers a great opportunity for Uganda to embark on its long-term aspirations of increasing household incomes and improving the quality of life of many of our youth.

Ugandan youth must know that Agro-Industralisation has a number of advantages and these include;

  • It is an avenue for promoting inclusive and equitable growth;
  • Uganda has a positive trade balance in agro-industrial products;
  • It is an opportunity to add value to agricultural raw materials in order to promote export expansion of high value products;
  • It provides an opportunity for import substitution;
  • It provides an opportunity to address the high post- harvest losses, minimizes losses to disasters, stabilize prices and increase house hold incomes and;
  • The backward and forward linkages between agriculture and agro-industries will necessitate that Uganda sustainably transform agro-value claims to ensure sufficient supply for domestic industries to undertake transformative sustainable manufacturing while creating employment for its youth.

The EAC Vision 2050 seeks to promote value addition through Agro-processing. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) aims to increase a single market for goods and services facilitated by movement of person in order to deepen the economic integration of the African Continent. This is an opportunity for Uganda to exploit its Agro-Indutralisation Agencies in order to feed the global value chain. Our strength as African people is domiciled in the deepening, broadening and widening the integration of the Africa-Continent. We must integrate in order to freely solve our African problems in an African manner.

For young people to meaningfully benefit from PDM and the entire integration of the African Continent, the following hinderances must be addressed;

  • Low agricultural production and productivity;
  • Poor storage infrastructure;
  • Poor market access and low competitiveness for products in domestic, regional, continental and International markets;
  • Low value additions;
  • Limited access to agricultural financial services and critical inputs; and 
  • Poor coordination and inefficient institutions for planning and implementation of Agro-Industralisation

We must strive to increase commercialization and competitiveness of agricultural production and agro-processing. We need to increase the total export value of processed agricultural commodities; coffee, tea, fish, diary, meat and maize (and its products from; USD 0.935 Billion to USD 2.7 Billion)

We must also reduce the total value of imported cereals and cereal preparations, vegetable fats and oils and sugar preparations from approximately USD 931.1 million USD to USD 500 million. It is equally important to note that despite a huge market, the Country’s capacity to satisfy the market demand remains inadequate. The youth must, therefore, get out of their comfort zones and produce for this big market.

In order to meaningfully transform our economy, there is need to take advantage of the digital transformation as I have said several times before. ICT is a fulcrum of development; it is an accelerator, amplifier and augmenter of change. ICT has a huge potential to improve national productivity by making government and business enterprises more efficient, effective and globally competitive. It is, therefore, a critical driver of social and economic development.

Information and communication Technology (ICT) is one of the major drivers of socio economic transformation as enshrined in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) manifesto 2021- 2026, National Development Plan (NDP) III and Vision 2040 among others.

The effect of the COVID 19 pandemic has clearly shown us the key role ICT plays in ensuring that the Government remains productive and continues to serve the wanainchi. In anticipation of these current and future challenges, the Government, as far as 2006, spearheaded the digitalization agenda and today we boats of the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) which has enabled various Government Departments serve the citizens through online systems such as e-Agriculture, E-Tax, E-education, e-health  e-visa, e-passport, e-Government procurement, security  CCTV Cameras, e-courts. Further, the integration platform has enhanced the sharing of information across Government and with citizens.

As Government embarks on the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM), I implore the National Information Technology Authority- Uganda (NITA-U) to further deepen access to the ICT infrastructure and these online services at all levels of Government Administration and service centres across the Country. 

The Government of Uganda identified information and communications technology- Business process Outsourcing (ICT- BPO) as a potential industry to propel growth of the economy through increasing investment and employment. NITA-U is spearheading the process of growing the ICT-BPO industry through establishment of Government ICT parks, BPO centres, designing incentives scheme for attracting investment in the ICT/ BPO sector.

ICT-BPO is one of the key catalysts for establishing knowledge-based industries in Uganda, thereby creating higher-value jobs for Uganda’s youthful population and enhancing economic growth. It is estimated that the ICT-BPO industry will create more than 100,000 jobs (direct and indirect).

I implore the youth to take advantage of these initiatives by upskilling and positioning themselves to take up the opportunities within the ICT-BPO industry.

Once again, I commend the Bazukulu at NITA_U for being at the forefront of promoting the use of ICTs to enable Government serve the wanainchi. These efforts will go a long way in transforming the lives of our people and particularly our youth in this digital era.

Today’s commissioning of the Regional Communications infrastructure Project (RCIP) is a clear testimony of our commitment as the NRM Government in transforming the lives of our citizens through the use of ICTs.

It is, therefore, a great pleasure for me during this year’s International Youth Day Commemoration to;

  • Launch the youth ConneKt platform- a platform for facilitating business information, sharing, learning and doing business
  • To launch the regional ICT infrastructure and E- Government Services.

I thank all of you and I wish you happy Celebrations.