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Sector players push for the creation of ICT hubs

By Prossy Nandudu

Added 27th July 2016 06:15 PM

James Saaka, the executive director of the National Information and Technology Authority (NITA-U), says this will help to monitor and protect their innovationS

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The Executive Director National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA –U) James Saaka (Left) and the Director Planning Research and Innovation NITA –U Fredrick Kitoogo (Right) during the Innovation Acceleration Dialogue (IAD) workshop at ISBAT University

James Saaka, the executive director of the National Information and Technology Authority (NITA-U), says this will help to monitor and protect their innovationS

Experts in Information and communication technology (ICT) are pushing for the creation of a centre that will bring together innovators.

James Saaka, the executive director of the National Information and Technology Authority (NITA-U), says this will help to monitor and protect their innovations.

Speaking during the first Innovations Acceleration Dialogue (IDA), Saaka said: "Many innovators suffer from unscrupulous people who steal their innovations, so we want to make sure that they are protected and helped to get funding through one centre," said Saaka.

 



"An innovation shouldn't stop at being recognized. It must become commercial, that is how the Europeans and Americans have been able to grow their innovations which are an avenue for job creation," he added.

The dialogue was supported by NITA-U, SIDA and World Bank was aimed at finding ways of bringing innovations in ICT together for better management, promotion and protection.

Dr.Fredrick Kitoogo, the director Planning and Research and Innovation at NITA-U added that a recent survey on IT innovations in Uganda revealed that there are 150 innovators and 15 hubs in the country but these lack funding and entrepreneurial skills.

"It means that they know how to technically come out with innovations but lack the skills of marketing so that they can realise the economic benefit of their innovations," said Kitoogo.

He also discovered that there are many innovations but there is no central area where they can get a country's direction on priorities in innovations, added Kitoogo.

"If we have an innovation centre of excellence, it will be recognised internationally and link local  with international innovators like IBM, Microsoft, Samsung," he added.

Outcomes of the dialogue will guide the authority into creating an innovations center. Government has acquired land for the construction of an ICT park and this could also be used to house an innovations center.

If that fails they, government could look out for a university or government agencies to host the center of excellence for all innovations and hubs, Kitoogo added.

But for the center to be effective there is need of joint efforts between government and private sector to find strategies of financing it, advised Chirag Rawat a senior consultant from the World Bank.

In Europe, innovation centres are funded by donor agencies and companies pay for the services directly from the innovators.

"Funding  from the private sector is  not possible because they are still a handful of the private sector who are  driving innovations so it's about how government creates an  enabling  regulation, funding, reaching out to patrtners,investors and mentors across the world to support young innovators," explained Rawat.

The World Bank representative, Luda Bujoreanu said they decided to support the dialogue to help Uganda find solutions that can help their innovators and ICT industry.

She said the meeting targeted local innovators to voice out their challenges to government, practitioners from Europe and Korea to share best practices so that government can clearly identify what government can do to support such organization or innovators in the country.

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