Ugandan Innovators and Ministry of ICT officials being taken through the recent innovations at Mastercard in Dubai by Dina Kahiel. (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)
Eddie Ssejjoba
Journalist @New Vision

YOUNG | INNOVATORS | DUBAI EXPO 

A group of Ugandan young innovators at the Dubai Expo 2020 were amazed by the recent technological innovations in finance solutions exhibited by Mastercard Inc, an American multinational financial services corporation. 

The group, led by Rowena Turinawe, the head of Information, Communication Technology (ICT) advisory, research and strategy at Centenary Technology Services Friday visited the Mastercard offices for Middle East and Africa in Dubai city, United Arab Emirates. 

Sponsored by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, the team were led to the offices to familiarize themselves with the recent innovations of the company, described as the leader in global payments and a technology company that connects billions of consumers and thousands of financial institutions.  

Mastercard has entered into a partnership with the Ministry of ICT and Centenary Technologies in which it will help in creating signage and a partnership where they intend to work together to foster innovation and acceleration of digital inclusion and finance literacy in Uganda. 

Ugandan Innovators and Ministry of ICT officials using the recent innovations at Mastercard in Dubai. (All Photos by Eddie Ssejjoba)

Ugandan Innovators and Ministry of ICT officials using the recent innovations at Mastercard in Dubai. (All Photos by Eddie Ssejjoba)

The partnership will provide a ‘start-up’ scheme for the five innovators that took part in the Expo 2020 Dubai and attach them to various sponsors and funders. 

They were accompanied by ministry officials and members of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). 

They were received by Dina Kahiel, the director Mastercard Experience Centers for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) and Omar El Sabaa, a specialist in Product Management, Fintech & Enablers at Mastercard, Dubai. 

They took them through their recent innovations, to the amazement of the visitors, including censoring Automated Teller Machines in the electronic payments that minimize hacking in public facilities. 

Kahiel said that they intended to take the Ugandan innovators through some training on the available new innovations at Mastercard.

She said earlier, they hosted and had a ‘passionate’ dialogue with state minister for ICT (national guidance), Godfrey Kabyanga. 

Ministry of ICT officials after the training.

Ministry of ICT officials after the training.

They discussed issues around the potential of Uganda and how partnering on all the opportunities before them leveraging Mastercard technology and insights can help kickstart some of the ambitions of the economy and the ministry. 

She said following the meeting with the minister, Mastercard had decided to bring on board the innovators to share with them those capabilities and technologies and assets and have similar discussions to spark innovations and see how they can collectively unlock those opportunities. 

“We wanted to touch their top-of-mind strategic priorities and their top-of-mind priorities leveraging artificial intelligence, supply change management, internet, financial inclusion and strategic growth and how can we leverage the fin-take community and startup communities and entrepreneurship,” she said. 

 She described Uganda as a fresh ground for them to try new things on the market. 

“The government of Uganda is so excellent and constantly willing to innovate and partner with Mastercard. A lot of our solutions we showcase, Uganda is the hero market for us,” she said. 

On the left is the Mastercard Office in Dubai city.

On the left is the Mastercard Office in Dubai city.

Turinawe said the innovators would benefit from the Mastercard start-up scheme which scales through unparalleled access to Mastercard's technology, solutions expertise and partners around the world. 

“We shall sign an MOU in two months, which will benefit innovators who will be able to access the connections that Mastercard has. 

“They will also be able to access Mastercard market linkages, relationships and they will be attached to sponsors that will help them take them through the whole incubation life-cycle, access to funding and for growth, understand how to market themselves, build sustainable businesses as well as take them through how to build innovations that can last,” she explained.     

The ministry of ICT sponsored five ICT Innovators to attend and showcase their works at the Expo 2020 Dubai during Innovation Week. They presented their innovations in the Ugandan Pavilion located in the Opportunity District. 

They included Francis Nkurunungi, the Chief of Operations and Expansion at Xente Technologies Limited, Martin Mukama from Protecting Infants Remotely by SMS (PRISMS), Hareesh Sahadevan from Emvigo Technologies, Lydia Nakayenze from Oncaplanta and Mohammed Muwonge from Badaye Technologies Limited. 

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