The ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) in conjunction with the National Information Technology (NITA-U) on 1st October 2014 organized a workshop on IT Innovation and Open Source at Statistics House
The main objective of the workshop was to build a greater synergy between IT innovation stakeholders and expand understanding of the frameworks, competencies and methodologies that improve innovation effectiveness in the country.
James Saaka, the NITA-U Executive Director called for more support for the young innovators in the Country and committed to lobby support from government;
“If we enable young innovators to get cheap bandwidth then we enable them to achieve potential”. He went ahead “Some young people are being fleeced by big companies after they innovate; we need to protect them”.
He also encouraged the innovators to learn more about Intellectual Property Rights and access to Venture Capital.
Dr David Turahi, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of ICT presented on an enabling environment for ICT innovation in Uganda, and shared laws and regulations developed to promote ICT innovation in line with the vision of government of Uganda.
“The National Curriculum has been reviewed to include ICT as a compulsory discipline in Schools.” He also cited that ICT research, innovation and industry development is a key priority in Government. An Open Source Strategy and Policy draft documentation was also drafted and presented for public feedback, as NITA-U together with the Ministry of ICT openly supported a move towards Open Source;
“We want Open Source to be our preferred mode of operation for e-government services and platforms.” – NITA-U Executive Director
Michael Niyitegeka, the Vice-Chairman of the ICTAU gave an overview of ICT innovation in Uganda from the private sector perspective pointing out that according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014, Uganda is an Innovation Learner – performing over 10% above expected. He also expressed his disgruntlement at the way “innovation happens” in Uganda;
“The reality is that there is no structured approach to innovation in Uganda; hackathons, competitions and challenges have led the way. Innovation is a process, not an event!”
The role played by Innovation & Incubation hubs such as Hive Colab and Outbox Hub were much appreciated for spurring and enhancing innovation as well as entrepreneurship among university students and innovators in Uganda’s ICT space.