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'Uganda will be technology hub for Africa by 2030'

By John Agaba

Added 5th August 2016 10:56 AM

It was Tumwesigye’s first day out in the field after he was appointed to the office as inaugural minister by President Yoweri Museveni late June.

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It was Tumwesigye’s first day out in the field after he was appointed to the office as inaugural minister by President Yoweri Museveni late June.

PIC: Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Elioda Tumwesigye talks to Gulu High School students during the 2016 National Technovation Challenge at Resilient Africa Network [RAN] offices, Kololo on July 02,2016. Photos/Hajara Nalwadda.

The Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Elioda Tumwesigye said Uganda will be a hub for science and technology in whole of Africa by 2030 during a technovation challenge at the Makerere University School of Public Health-powered ResilientAfrica Network.

It was Tumwesigye’s first day out in the field after he was appointed to the office as inaugural minister by President Yoweri Museveni late June.

During the technovation challenge that attracted teams from over 15 girl secondary schools from across Uganda, the new minister reiterated the need for science and innovations, pledging support to the network.

“Science and technology move the world today. Uganda cannot be left behind. By 2030 we should be a (science and technology) hub for Africa,” the minister said.

He joked that it was the first time he was hearing the word “pitching”, alluding to the innovation ideas teams at the challenge came up with.

Different teams had different ideas how they can solve maternal challenges and poverty and climate change issues in Uganda. They presented these before a panel of judges, who assessed the most feasible and relevant innovation idea. At the end of a day’s work, the team from Maryhill Girls in Mbarara district convinced the judges the most.

 
Prof. William Bazeyo, the dean at the Makerere University School of Public Health and RAN Chief of Party, said innovation and creation and development of new ideas was necessary counter emerging and re-emerging challenges.

“We need solutions to prolonging dry spells. We need solutions to flooding and to poverty and our maternal health challenges,” the professor said.

Director of innovations Dr. Dorothy Okello said they will keep trying to incubate and mentor young persons to develop their ideas.

The challenge coincided with a GIS Hackathon, also hosted at the same lab, to ‘hack-a-climate-change-thorn’. The collaboration with the AidData Center for Development Policy, a partner lab under the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), attracted 108 participants and the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA – U).

Minister Tumwesigye said that he will “support” the young scientists and help them to develop their ideas into prototypes. He said he would also “look” for partners to help advance the young scientists’ innovations.

The theme for the Hackathon was focused on sustainable development goal 13 and specifically at “taking urgent action to combat Climate Change and its impacts through Innovation & utilization of open data”.

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