Uganda Earmarks 15bn Shillings Annual Fund for Innovators

The Ugandan government has announced a funding stimulus of Shs15 billion every year for young innovators in the country.

Information minister Frank Tumwebaze speaking at the 4th annual conference on communications at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), recently, said there are concerns that most good innovations end as experiments.

“It became a concern that what most of our people, especially students who innovate, stop at laboratories; good innovations are not translated to finished products and end up only as experiments,” said Mr Tumwebaze.

“This is why the President last week directed the ministry of Finance to put aside Shs15 billion every year to support innovations,” he added.

The minister told the conference attended by among others researchers, academicians, ICT private service providers and broadcasters that the ICT is a dynamic industry that requires dynamic policies and legislation in order to cause socio-economic transformation.

The MUST deputy vice chancellor, Prof Charles Kazooba, said ICT research needs to be allocated more resources, especially in a country like Uganda where culture of research is minimal due to limited donor funding, lack of supervision due to brain drain and limited capacity to translate the little research outcomes into the development of communities.

Minister Tumwebaze noted that despite some significant ICT achievements the country has had in the recent past, when it comes to e-government the country still fares badly in global rankings.

He said at the continental level, Uganda’s ranking dropped from 20th position in 2012 to 26th position in 2014. He said this is because of the challenges such as inadequate ICT infrastructure, high cost of ICT services, limited local and relevant content, inadequate human resource and low levels of ICT awareness, among others.

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