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ICT MINISTRY TASKS AMB. ZZAAKE KIBEDDI TO MARKET UGANDA’S BPO POTENTIAL AMONG UAE INVESTORS

By Mulengera Reporters 

This Thursday afternoon, the top leadership of the Ministry of ICT met with Ambassador Zzake Kibeddi who represents Uganda in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The meeting took place at the Nakawa-based BPO Innovations Hub which will also be housing the country’s key Business Processes Outsourcing (BPO) infrastructure. Constructed by UPDF Construction brigade, the Innovations Hub is a 1,000 Seater complex located at the UICT Campus.

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Led by ICT Minister Chris Baryomunsi, the ICT Ministry delegation comprised of the State Ministers Joyce Sebugwawo (ICT) and Godfrey Kabyanga (National Guidance). The PS Dr. Aminah Zawedde was equally on board and explained a number of things Amb. Zzaake must leverage on to effectively market Uganda amongst Dubai-based investors as a compelling BPO and Innovations destination.

The team first took Amb Zzaake on a guided tour of the huge complex housing the BPO/Innovations Hub after which closed talks were held. Baryomunsi emphasized to Zzaake (he certainly already knows many of these things) that the ICT Ministry is prepared to amplify the President’s broader vision to leverage on the ICTs to combat widespread graduate youth unemployment in the country which remains a key challenge for the NRM government.

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“We, as top Ministry leadership, resolved to make job creation a key priority in our tenure and because we know Dubai, where you represent our country as Ambassador, is now the global capital and business center of the world, we decided to engage you very specifically to help us market our country in relation to BPO and Innovations services. It’s an area with great potential to create a substantial number of jobs for our young people,” Baryomunsi told Zzaake who will be leveraging on his commercial diplomacy mandate to do the needful.

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The Ministry officials used the interaction to ensure Zzaake gets the information he needs to effectively market and publicize Uganda’s preparedness to give excellent BPO services to investors and companies in Dubai and other parts of the globe. He was told of the BPO law that is being mooted to, among other things, make it mandatory for all companies and businesses operating in Uganda to consume locally available BPO services. The same will apply to all government MDAs and the end result will be empowering local businesses and creation of tens of thousands of gainful employment opportunities for the country’s young graduates. Companies like MTN, some of the foreign-owned banks and other big private sector players in our economy won’t be able to continue expending trillions of shillings on the importation of the relevant BPO services once the law gets enacted and comes into force.

Specifically, the PS Dr. Aminah Zawedde informed Amb Zzaake that her ICT Ministry is already closely working with the regulator PPDA to ensure no government MDA ever relies on imported soft wares and other innovative digital solutions to facilitate business processes and any manner of service delivery to the people of Uganda. Such restrictions will diminish capital flight while enhancing our economy’s capabilities to create additional jobs for its young people. Amb Zzaake was also told about the National ICT Initiatives Support Program (NIISP) under which the GoU funded the establishment of the National BPO Hub which will be relied upon to nurture, accelerate and leverage home-grown innovative digital solutions; entrepreneurship and digital employment in the country.

That the Ministry of ICT will manage the national BPO Hub to ensure quality assurance, proper administration and management of the facility based at the Nakawa UICT Campus. The complex is already completed only awaiting a few finishing aspects and installation of the relevant computer systems. The GoU, acting through the Ministry of ICT, will also be leveraging on the same National BPO Hub at Nakawa to increase production and consumption of local ICT innovations and increase job creation while diminishing government expenditure and reliance on imported solutions from abroad.

The Ministry will also be working to ensure the cost of internet, currently at $35 Mbps, is lowered to as low as $25 per Mbps. This, Zzaake was assured, is going to happen within as very short time. The ICT backbone infrastructure (to ensure connectivity to the already established incubation & innovation centers) is also increasingly being expanded to ensure larger parts of the country are covered and this will benefit the nascent private sector companies by way of enabling them access to affordable and fast internet. Zzaake was told all these should combine to make Uganda an easy brand to sell among potential investors as a great BPO and Innovations destination.

The Ambassador was also told about the BPO/Innovations Council (chaired by globally-acclaimed scholar Prof William Bazeyo) which the State Minister for ICT Joyce Sebugwawo appointed and inaugurated at the Ministry’s board room on Thursday 10th November this very year. The Council, whose members Zzaake had the opportunity to interact with too, comprises of eminent and distinguished ICT professionals from the academia, public and private sectors. The Ambassador was told the Bazeyo-led Council had started its work with enthusiasm to the extent they have already wooed over willing consumers of Uganda’s BPO services in form of a US company (names withheld) whose annual turnover is over $1.5trn. Actually to be able to adequately concentrate on this new BPO assignment, Prof Bazeyo last week totally resigned from Makerere University where he now only remains a former student and staff.

The BPO Council will spearhead efforts by the Ministry and GoU to supervise the implementation of the BPO & Innovations strategy and the overall regulatory framework besides advising on the necessary reforms required to achieve the desired growth of the country’s BPO and Innovations industry. Upon listening to submissions made by the leaders of the ICT Ministry, Amb Zzaake vowed to do his best to ensure that the Ugandan BPO pedigree gets to be adequately understood by key investors falling within his area of jurisdiction which is the UAE.    (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us atmulengera2040@gmail.com).

 

 

 

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