By David Mugabe
Innovators and the private sector players in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) industry have asked government agencies to support ICT innovations as a way of creating jobs.
The innovators, some of whom have won global acclaim with Google and Microsoft are particularly concerned about the harsh local conditions, which they say have wasted talent.
“Support to the sector is not enough. This has forced many young innovators to shift their focus and ideas to more conducive markets,” said Gideon Poet, a young innovator and chief executive of Hellow World, a web and mobile IT firm.
They also sighted instances where many start-ups associated with various incubator firms get stuck with their ideas after the fanfare of the awards ceremony.
During a meeting to disseminate the proposed standards for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in Kampala, the young innovators asked for more support, while government agencies such as National Information Technology Authority conceded more needs to be done.
Badru Ntege, who operates a BPO, encouraged the young innovators not to give up, but continue building their businesses in a sustainable way. Recent innovation In 2014, Project 1 and AfriGal Tech, an all-girl team, were chosen to represent Uganda at the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Semi-finals on May 1.
Several Ugandans have also been recognised, including AfriGal Tech from Makerere University, who developed an application called mDex, a smart phone-based sickle cell diagnosis alternative.
The other is Joshua Okello, who was announced among the 10 finalists in the African Innovation Foundation of the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa 2014.
Okello’s WinSenga innovation is a low-cost mobile phone-based antenatal diagnosis kit that captures foetal heart beat sounds and provides diagnosis, which is sent to the mother through SMS.
Eunice Namirembe, a Ugandan economics graduate, emerged overall winner taking home sh65m ($25,000) in the Google Africa Connected competition in Nairobi.
In April 2013, four young men in a team dubbed Code 8, developed the first kit for testing malaria by using light rays without requiring blood samples.
In 2013, Titus Mawano, a student at Virginia Tech in the US, emerged as one of only three winners in the third Apps4Africa competition beating off competition from 300 African entrants.
ICT innovators decry lack of govt support