On Tuesday 15th November, the ICT parliamentary committee paid a visit to the National ICT Innovation Hub to carry out inquiries, oversea the activities and monitor the functionality of the facility. The committee comprising of 30 members was well represented and headed by the Vice chairperson, Honorable Nathan Nabeta Igeme.
The National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP), was established to tackle challenges faced by Ugandan ICT innovators and create a digital eco system to evolve local applications to support homegrown solutions. As a part of this initiative, the Government of Uganda under the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance constructed the National ICT Innovation Hub primarily to create a conducive innovation ecosystem and as a result, nurture, accelerate and leverage home grown innovative digital solutions.
“As you all know, the Government and country have embraced the utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTS) to improve service delivery to the citizens and also for social and economic development. This led to embarking on a digital transformation journey which is enshrined in Vision 2040, the Third National Development Plan (NDP III).” Said Dr. Fred Kitoogo, Principal Uganda Institute of Information Communication Technology in his speech during the meeting with the parliamentary.
Dr. Animah Zawedde, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance presented to the committee an insight on the activities that have happened at the innovation hub elaborating some of the main achievements that show that it is a fully operational facility in this economy.
Currently, the hub is a home to 12 innovators: ePosta, Info Consults International, Kacyber Technologies, Microfuse, Ridelink, Askari Project, Technology Innovation Association, Elago Technologies, Code Impact, Wal-e Visual and Crossroads Animation. The parliamentary committee paid a visit to each of these stalls to have a glimpse on what innovations are generating at the Hub facilities.
Different partnerships have been established with various partners to enable digital skilling, provide capacity building, training and certification courses to different innovators and the population at large in order to achieve digital transformation of the economy. Some of these partners include Huawei Uganda, Centenary Technology Services, MTN Uganda, Refactory, JCSE FI ICT founders training, to mention but a few. Dr. Aminah Zawedde called upon more partnerships for the sustainability of the hub.
Nathan Igeme, The Vice Chairperson of the ICT Parliamentary Committee mentioned that the committee is ready to support these innovative solutions that can solve the day-to-day problems of Ugandans.
The committee members also highlighted that the initiatives done by the Hub are not known to the public. There is a need to increase awareness on these initiatives that can support growth of other sectors using ICT. They were pleased that some of the innovations like the E- procurement and E- payment systems are being rolled out and the government will be able to achieve a cashless based economy which in the long term will enable saving on resources.
The members also agreed that there is a growing need for resources, not only financial but also manual as well, in order to carry out research because a country cannot grow without research. There are areas for improvement like transformingthe hub into a center of excellence where the best services can be generated and spread out in universities, private entities and other innovation hubs.
“As government, our intention for the Hub is to make it the “Home of ICT Innovation” with the ability to house and support the local innovations in Uganda, harnessing the true concept of Nationalism and home-grown potential.” Said Honourable Joyce Ssebugwawo, state Minister for ICT.