Advancements and Milestones Unveiled in 2nd Joint Coordination Committee Meeting for UJ-CONNECT

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The Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), convened the second Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting for the UJ-Connect Project today at the National ICT Innovation Hub. 

Dr. Aminah Zawedde, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, chaired the meeting, with participation from key stakeholders representing both the private and public sectors.

Launched in July 2023, the UJ-Connect Project aims to fortify Uganda’s ICT industry by establishing a growth model for priority sub-sectors. The project’s objectives, articulated during the first JCC, encompass four main outcomes: Policy Support, Human Resource Development, Business Matching, and Mentorship.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Aminah Zawedde highlighted the significant achievements made under the project. Notably, she mentioned the development of a skill set standard booklet for 7 identified priority skilling areas under output 1, the priority areas include Application Software (mobile/web); Database Management and Analysis; Cybersecurity; Cloud Services; Data Science; Artificial Intelligence; and Big Data by collaboration with UICT which is crucial for enhancing the quality of ICT services in Uganda. “Under this same output, we have also reviewed and revised the Intellectual Property Policy Guidelines, incorporating insights from global practices”. She spoke.

Under Output 2, the Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology, has developed a training curriculum to meet the human resource needs of the identified priority areas. A number of short courses have been designed to equip Ugandan youth with essential skills. Over 2,000 beneficiaries are expected to benefit from these programs and Capacity building for trainers of these programmes is already underway.

Exciting prospects lie ahead with the upcoming business matching event between Japanese and Ugandan ICT companies, scheduled for late February 2024, as part ofOutput 3. This event will foster collaboration through a six-month pilot project, amplifying Uganda’s presence on the international stage. Additionally, a successful webinar was held for Japanese companies to share information about the Ugandan ICT sector and companies and over 40 people from ICT, manufacturing, and development consulting companies in Japan participated. 

Finally, from output 4, a mentorship program aimed at nurturing technology-driven entrepreneurship was launched today during the 2nd JCC. From a pool of 303 applicants, 15 exceptional start-up founders were selected to refine their ideas and business models. This initiative not only cultivates market-fit products but also opens doors for collaboration with both Japanese and Ugandan companies.

This mentoring program also targets the entrepreneurs who are in the early stage, and the Project will support them to build the business model and accelerate their business development by conducting mentoring to selected entrepreneurs. Through the 6-months mentoring program, the entrepreneurs are expected to grow their revenue, increase their employment, gain skills for fundraising, and step up to be able to join the acceleration programs like Project NINJA, Uganda. It is very important for Ugandan entrepreneurs to gain skills to be selected to join the accelerator program to grow their business.

In his speech, Mr. Yoichi Inoue, the JICA Chief Representative emphasized the importance of project sustainability and urged the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance to focus on the future of the project and the ICT industry over the next three years of implementation.

In conclusion, the UJ-Connect Project continues to make significant strides towards its objectives through the dedication and collaboration of all stakeholders involved. The Ministry of ICT & National Guidance remains committed to fostering an innovative and vibrant ICT ecosystem in Uganda.