Hundreds of businesses in Uganda turned to the internet as a way of keeping afloat during testing times. In fact, advice from the World Bank suggests that going digital will be crucial if the economy is to recover over the next few years. Building on this, data from World Bank shows that internet penetration in Uganda was 23% in 2019. However, thanks to recent initiatives and a greater demand for internet access, it increased to 39% in January 2021. However, for all the improvements, this is still significantly below what it could and should be.
Nigeria has 96% penetration according to data from Statista, while Kenya and Libya have over 84%. Uganda isn’t the worst African nation for internet access. Less than 15% of the populations of Sierra Leon and Liberia have access to the internet. Regardless of this fact, the number of internet users is lower than it should be. To this end, organizations such as World Bank are pushing for lower import taxes on smartphone phones and a reduction in taxes and fees for digital services. Additionally, Uganda has adopted the National Payments Bill, which aims to improve the regulatory infrastructure around the digital financial sector.
Uganda On Route to Becoming a Digital Economy
World Bank also notes that the next step for Uganda’s digital revolution is to “improve the environment for venture capital and private equity to allow for increased investments in the digital sector.” This is where the opportunities for entrepreneurs will be over the next decade. With that being the case, anyone looking to start a company or make an existing one digital needs to have an understanding of the potentials and pitfalls of doing business online. The upsides are clear. With the right social media presence, product, and payment options, you can generate thousands of sales each week.
Having a digital business also means you can operate without borders. You don’t need to focus solely on Uganda. With the right distribution network, you can serve people across Africa or the world at large. However, it’s not easy. Most people start either alone or with a small team. That’s great as it keeps the costs down, but it can only take you so far. You need to scale up to run a thriving online business. When you do that, managing a digital team requires certain processes. On a practical level, you’ll need a management structure in place and a way of delegating tasks.
A Digital Business Has to Flow
One part of this structure has to be an IT department. If you run a digital business, there will be IT issues. Filtering queries and support requests through an IT asset management system is imperative. The SolarWinds Service Desk allows you to create a system through which support tickets are automatically filtered to the point where technicians can focus on certain tasks and allow the software to handle others. An IT management system will increase efficiency which, in the fast-paced world of digital tech, is crucial. If your website is offline for too long or certain pages aren’t loading, it’s a problem.
It’s the same with regards to payments, customer service, and anything else that affects the user’s experience. Because there isn’t any face-to-face interaction with a digital business, the software and website have to do all of the work. Therefore, if you don’t have an effective troubleshooting system in place, it can hurt your business. Of course, this isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, but it’s certainly an important one.
Uganda looks to be on the cusp of a digital revolution and that will create a multitude of opportunities. With the right product and the right digital set-up, almost anyone can take advantage of this in the coming years.