Govt launches multimillion ICT hub in West Nile

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Government of Uganda through the Ministry of ICT and  National Guidance has launched the West Nile regional ICT Innovation Hub at Muni University in Arua city.

The launch was presided over by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Aminah Zawedde.

“As a ministry, we are now focusing on infrastructure; setting up connectivity, hubs, data centers and also computer labs, and making sure that people have equipment such as computers and other affordable devices to support digital transformation,” Dr.Zawedde said.

Speaking during the function, the Koboko North MP , Dr. Noah Musa appealed to government of Uganda to consider reducing taxes on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices.

He also encouraged the youth to embrace ICT in their day-to-day activities and businesses such as livestock farming.

“We can do all these investments but if the end users do not have the gadgets to use the ICT investments we have put in place, then our investments will be in vain and one of the bottlenecks that we are experiencing as a country is the cost of the end-use ICT devices,” He  remarked

The need for a regional ICT innovation hub stemmed from the challenges faced by West Nile entrepreneurs in accessing critical resources, getting guidance and internship required as they expand their businesses.

According to Prof. Robert Kajobe, the Director Graduate Training, Research and Innovation, Muni University is just a host of the regional hub which is going to help in addressing the problems entrepreneurs face such as lack of meeting/training venue, work spaces, fast internet connectivity and cloud storage system among others.

Prof. Simon Anguma Katrini, the Muni University Vice Chancellor also noted that in 2020, Muni University requested for support through the National ICT Support Initiative program for establishing an innovative ICT hub at the University to accelerate the growth of the ICT eco-system in Uganda.

Prof. Anguma confirmed that a total of shs 250 million was released to Muni University by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance which money was appropriately utilized to set up the regional ICT innovation hub.

“The area MP talked about the need for us to reduce the cost of devices and it is true, those are some of the policy issues we are looking in to see how do we ensure that the cost of these devices are brought down or how do we ensure that we bring into this country and the various regions may be assembling plants for computers. If these computers are manufactured here or smart phones are manufactured and assembled in the country, they would be more affordable,” the Ministry of ICT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Aminah Zawedde said.

She also  shared the five pillars of the digital transformation that include ICT infrastructure and connectivity, digital skilling, e-services, cybersecurity and data privacy along with innovation and entrepreneurship.

She encouraged the young people to take advantages of the ICT hub and the opportunities that come along with it in order to develop solutions for challenges they face in their region.

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