Uganda’s use of innovation to solve social challenges drive its development and creates new employment opportunities, Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda, Prime Minister of Uganda, said during the Global Business Forum Africa, GBF Africa 2019, in Dubai.
Speaking during an opening session, Dr. Ruganda discussed on how Uganda is fostering innovation and technology to unlock its economic potential.
He gave an example of mobile technology being used to register and track valuable data, improve access to education and address existing issues.
“These efforts in innovation taking place in Uganda – especially by the younger generation – are also being replicated in similar settings in a number of African counties in East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa and North Africa,” Dr Ruganda said.
While discussing Uganda’s need to create 600,000 jobs every year for the next 10 and Uganda’s new programme set to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Dr Ruganda was asked about how Uganda will balance its innovation push with much-needed infrastructure projects.
He responded by saying that priorities that will have a lasting and positive impact on the economy must be chosen.
“For example, we are focusing on physical infrastructure to ensure that the road network, rail network, air and water transport is improved,” he said.
He added that the country is focusing on building a national backbone infrastructure such as a digital structure to ensure people have access to connectivity.
“About 10 years ago, we had only two per cent of Ugandans connected to the Internet. As I speak now, about 30 per cent of Ugandans are connected. We think that this is a significant improvement,” he noted.
He also added that the government is keen on elements such as research and development which are required to foster innovation.
The prime minister also noted that substantial resources are being invested into Uganda’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
He also noted that an innovation fund for ICT areas had also been put in place to support startups in the sector.
GBF Africa 2019 is organized by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is bringing together public and private sector stakeholders from the United Arabs Emirate and African countries to look into key trends and explore new avenues of economic cooperation.