Ugandan ministers of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) attending the Dubai Expo 2020 have toured several other pavilions to benchmark what others have.
State ministers, Godfrey Kabyanga in charge national guidance and Joyce Ssebugwawo, state for ICT, accompanied by Prof. William Bazeyo, the chairperson of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Martha Mugarura, assistant commissioner for urban development in the ministry of lands and other officials toured several pavilions including Kenya and Rwanda.
In comparison, while Uganda served coffee free coffee without milk, their counterparts at the Kenyan pavilion served coffee with milk but at a fee, while it was free at the Rwandan pavilion, where a line stretched outside and entrance was being controlled by a security official provided by the expo management.
While the Ugandan team just walked inside the Kenyan pavilion and found nobody to take them around, at the Rwandan entrance were told to wait because of the long lines but later a Rwandan official, Isaac Ngabonzinza who learnt of their presence came and asked them to enter without following the queues.
Ngabonzinza took the officials inside and was happy to receive a team from the neighboring country and did his best to impress them. The Permanent Secretary of the ICT ministry Dr. Amina Zawedde said so many countries were showcasing what they have done best in their respective countries including cultural strengths like displaying dances, serving the food they have and other things but Uganda this time decided to exhibit technology.
“We have countries we are looking up to. We are comparing ourselves with countries like Saudi Arabia that have gone ahead in terms of technology, Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo,” she said.
“This is not a Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) trade show, but each country is showcasing what they have and Uganda is picking something from each one of them”.
The Kenyan pavilion
She said Uganda was showcasing her ability and capability to attract ICT and innovation investments. “This Expo should have started in 2020 but it was delayed because of Covid-19 but since October last year Uganda has been participating and as we wind up, we have the innovation Week,” she said, justifying reasons Uganda decided to dedicate a week on ICT and innovations.
The Permanent Secretary says Uganda has a lot of potential in terms of regulatory environment in which investors put their money, among them the infrastructure internet connectivity and had set up data centres and research and developing on a small scale. “Although it is still on small scale, we are improving and that is why we are here, we have a lot of research, we have an enabling environment that governs electronic transactions and cyber laws,” she explained.