KAMPALA - The minister for Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Frank Tumwebaze has urged the private sector and other stakeholders to collaborate so that the cost of information, technology infrastructure reduces.
He said a reduction in the cost of technology infrastructure coupled with lowering internet rates would make technology affordable for everyone, hence fostering growth and transformation.
“How do we best reduce the cost of IT services to accelerate development in Africa especially IT Infrastructure and Internet? Can the cost of the internet be made affordable like a bottle of water?” the minister wondered.
He said this during the closure of ICT4D conference at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo in Kampala.
“We shouldn’t think that ICT is only for computer scientists in the lab. In these past three days, we have learnt that ICT is everywhere, in agriculture, education, and health, among others,” he said emphasizing that digital technologies are not only for educated people - literate, illiterate and different sectors need ICT,” said Tumwebaze.
He mentioned several forthcoming digital innovations by NGOs, and humanitarian agencies, among other spheres.
“USAID’s upcoming digital strategy, ICT for safeguarding, next steps of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning for the development and humanitarian aid, innovations in digital financial inclusion, and practical advice on how Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and their partners can better manage the digital transformation,” Tumwebaze.
However, Lauren Woodman, chief executive officer of NetHope, an NGO said managing digital transformation is not an easy task.
“Digital is not the same as being digitized. Both are important but not the same,” she said.
This year’s ICT4D conference had a strong focus on youth engagement, digital diversity, and responsible data. All topics that brought up lively discussions and the need for action on getting digital technologies to programme participants, better engaging communities and more co-development of digital programmes in agriculture and health, and a general need for better data privacy in the face of cybersecurity risks.
“We were able to receive over 930 participants from 440 organizations in 85 countries who all came to Uganda to share their experiences and ideas on how ICT can help the poor and destitute in the world to better their lives. Uganda hosting this conference demonstrates that this country is in a great position to support digital development, with a very young population struggling with connectivity and a strong mission around legislation and ICT investment. There is a great future for ICT here in Uganda.” Niek de Goeij, country representative, Catholic Relief Services.