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Ministry of ICT Launch The West Nile ICT Innovation Hub at Muni University

The government through the Ministry of ICT has launched the West Nile regional ICT Innovation Hub at Muni University in Arua City.

Story Highlights
  • The government establishing three regional ICT innovation hubs in universities geared towards fortifying the country’s digital transformation agenda.
  • The Ministry of ICT received funds amounting to UGX750 million for the establishment of the regional ICT innovation hubs in the universities of Soroti, Kabale, and Arua.
  • The government designed NIISP to facilitate the creation of an ICT innovation ecosystem and marketplace for Ugandan innovative digital products.
  • NIISP tackles bottlenecks to creating a digital ecosystem by promoting the development and deployment of applications to create an open ecosystem in Uganda.

Two weeks after launching the Soroti University ICT Innovation Hub, the government through the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance has launched another regional ICT innovation hub, the West Nile ICT Innovation Hub at Muni University in Arua City —thus, becomes the second out of the three regional ICT innovation hubs in universities that the Ministry planned to establish, a move geared towards fortifying the country’s digital transformation agenda.

The launch took place on May 3, presided over by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Aminah Zawedde who noted that the Ministry is focusing on infrastructure; setting up connectivity, hubs, data centers, and computer labs — as well as making sure that people have computers and other affordable digital devices to support digital transformation.

The need for a regional ICT innovation hub stemmed from the challenges faced by West Nile entrepreneurs in accessing critical resources, getting guidance, and internships required as they expand their businesses. According to Prof. Robert Kajobe, the Director of 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 venues, workspaces, fast internet connectivity, and cloud storage system among others.


ALSO READ: HUAWEI LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE SME DIGITALIZATION PROGRAM IN UGANDA


During the launch, Prof. Simon Anguma Katrini, Muni University Vice Chancellor said the university in 2020 requested support through the Ministry’s National Innovation Initiative Support Program (NIISP) to establish an innovative ICT hub at the university —to which the Ministry complied, releasing UGX250 million to set up the regional ICT innovation hub and according to Anguma, the money was appropriately utilized.

While encouraging the youth to embrace ICT in their day-to-day activities and businesses, Hon. Noah Musa; MP Koboko North County appealed to the government to consider reducing taxes on ICT devices.

“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,” explained Musa.

Zawedde responding to Musa said the government is working on policies to ensure that the cost of ICT/digital devices is brought down as well as having assembling plants for computers and smartphones.

“The Hon. MP Musa talked about the need for us to reduce the cost of devices, those are some of the policy issues we are looking into — to see how we ensure that the cost of these devices is brought down or how we ensure that we bring into this country and the various regions may be assembling plants for computers,” said Zawedde. “If these computers are manufactured here or smartphones are manufactured and assembled in the country, they would be more affordable.”


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Zawedde urged the youth to take advantage of the newly built regional ICT hubs and the opportunities that come along with them to develop solutions for challenges they face in their communities.

In the financial year 2021/22, the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance was provided with funds amounting to UGX750 million for the establishment of regional ICT innovation hubs in the universities of Soroti, Kabale, and Muni [in Arua]; each receiving UGX250 million. “This would not only increase the uptake of ICTs in higher institutions of learning but also increase the uptake of ICT among the business community and other professional service providers, let alone increase job creation for the local community,” Zawedde said at the time of launching the Soroti University ICT Innovation Hub.

The Ministry didn’t comment on when they will launch the regional ICT innovation hub in Kabale. However, it is expected to happen this year.

ALSO READ: MINISTRY OF ICT OPENS A NEW ICT INNOVATION HUB IN SOROTI

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