The policy review is aimed at capturing the emerging issues; the development frame works and will be addressing about five key areas.
PIC The Minister Elioda adressing a meeting during the launch of the review of the science policy. Photo by Agnes Nantambi
A-team of experts under the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are in the country to help Uganda to review its science, technology and innovation’s policy under the ministry of science and technology.
The team headed by Dong Wu the chief of science and technology section branch at UNCTAD together with the Ministry of science, technology and innovations began by launching the review of the policy at the ministry head offices in Kampala.
Wu said they intend to begin the review by focusing on Uganda’s priority areas.
Officiating at the launch of the review, the Minister for science, technology and innovations Elioda Tumwesigye said the review is necessitated by new trends emerging in respect with the new technology.
“We have so many innovations that are coming up at Makerere which are pioneered by our scientists, however, there has been a problem of developing the ideas into products for the markets. There has been a lot of advances in artificial intelligence, new advances in computer, technology and social media among others, which needed the review of the policy to address issues surrounding them. He said: “Our focus as ministry of science and technology is to translate research into a commercialised product.
Tumwesigye added that the policy review is aimed at capturing the emerging issues; the development frame works and will be addressing about five key areas.
The key areas he said include the policy environment that supports science and technology, it will indicate how to build the capacity of the country to apply science and technology, it will address the interventions for the financing of Science, technology and Innovations STI, the legal and regulatory frame work and also the STI co-ordination.
“For instance how should STI be co-ordinated in universities, industries and the different ministries and agencies and how are they will all be coordinated under the STI ministry. These and others will all be enshrined in the new policy,” he said. For instance he said people using drones have to be regulated on how and when to use them. He gave an example of innovations like proto type cars developed by Makerere University, which use solar and others using hybrid where one who want to travel short distance can use solar and one travelling long distance use diesel.
He said his ministry has already obtained support to begin the construction of an assembling plant on the 100 hectares in Jinja revealing that they are yet to begin putting up chargeable stations in Kampala, Entebbe and among other places.
“We expect to put up an assembling plant for the solar vehicles in July and within four years, Uganda will be able to use solar vehicles in villages,” he said.
He said his ministry is also yet to put up a science and innovation incubation centre at Namanve to allow innovators carryout tests and also start up the production of their products.
He explained that although National Council of Science and Technology is under the science ministry, the science ministry does not have enough experience and capacity to develop a new policy framework.
He said his ministry appealed to the United Nations which Uganda subscribes to under its body UNCTAD to help in reviewing and developing a new National science and technology policy.
“At the UN, we have a commission for Science and Technology whose secretariat is at UNCTAD which is helping Uganda to review the current policy,” Tumwesigye said.
He applauded the UN for accepting to help Uganda in reviewing the current Science, technology and innovations policy saying this will help to include other sciences, innovations and technologies to help Uganda achieve middle income status through science.
He said for Uganda to achieve its vision 2040, science technology engineering and innovation has to be embraced so as to harness all the opportunities available. Tumwesigye added that the new policy will also be in line with the new development framework that Uganda has signed to including the SDGs, vision 2040 and other development plans.