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Local ICT developers to showcase innovations

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd July 2020 07:28 AM

Organised by the university’s School of Public Health Resilient Africa Network (RAN) innovation lab, the event codenamed ICT Innovation Katale will take place on Friday.

Local ICT developers to showcase innovations

The Mpassa app team displays skills during one of the ICT innovators

Organised by the university’s School of Public Health Resilient Africa Network (RAN) innovation lab, the event codenamed ICT Innovation Katale will take place on Friday.

Local information and communications technology (ICT) innovators are to showcase their latest innovations at a tech-inspired event organised by Makerere University.

Organised by the university's School of Public Health Resilient Africa Network (RAN) innovation lab, the event codenamed ICT Innovation Katale will take place on Friday. It will showcase digital solutions innovated to transform societies and the economy amidst challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The innovators are supported by the Government through the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance in an effort to curb the high rate of graduate unemployment.

The  National ICT Initiatives and Support Programme (NIISP) under the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance is derived from Uganda's Vision 2040, which envisages ICT as key among the drivers of inclusive economic growth and modernisation.
 
The ICT sector already employs over two million people, the bulk being the youth engaged in sale and re-sale of value added products and ICT solutions and services.

Last December, former ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze revealed that government spends sh50b annually to procure ICT solutions from abroad yet if this government expenditure is channelled towards local innovators, it could boost their capacity to innovate and create jobs.

Last year in June, the ministry offered sh6b to 60 innovations out of 665 applicants under the second cohort of NIISP. The innovators are in different categories such as agriculture, health, education and ICT.

Most of the 60 innovations were given sh100m and a few of them got sh200m and sh300m. A few innovations got below sh100m. 

This was an increase from the previous year 2018, when only 12 applications were considered for funding.

"The ministry allocated RAN lab 14 innovation projects under the second NIISP cohort to receive technical support and guidance towards the realisation of these transformative digital solutions.

"With our partners at United Social Ventures, innovators have been taken through an intense incubation programe that included business and enterprise development training, development of a business model, and development of a market and user-outreach plan.

"Teams were also offered one-on-one coaching and mentorship support and given specialized attention during the COVID-19 Pandemic partial lockdown," Harriet Adong, the RAN communications officer, said.

 The RAN lab brings together scholars, a diverse array of industry players and entrepreneurs to co-create evidence-based solutions that build the resilience of communities facing recurrent shocks and stresses in Africa.

It supports innovators in developing and launching their most compelling ideas, start-up enterprises and businesses that tackle the key challenges in communities like climate change, food insecurity, financial inclusion, rapid urbanization, disease epidemics and chronic conflict among others.

About the 2020 ICT Innovation Katale

Adong explained that: "The virtual event will be hosted by RAN in partnership with the Ministry of ICT and United Social Ventures on Zoom (as a closed event for invited guests) and will also be broadcasted live on Facebook, as an open event for the general public."

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