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KABYANGA MAKES CASE AS DUBAI EXPO CLOSES, ASSURES INVESTORS UGANDA IS SOON BECOMING NEW ‘INNOVATION & BPO POWERHOUSE’ FOR AFRICA

Allan Nsereko

As the 2020 Dubai Expo comes to end, Uganda made one more giant step this Saturday 26th March by crowning it all with the second “Uganda Tourism, Trade and Investment Forum.”  This was a platform to engage between Ugandan officials and potential investors from UAE and other Arab states. State Minister of ICT Godfrey Baluku Kabbyanga used the platform to publicize and popularize Uganda’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) capabilities and implored potential investors in the audience to embrace the same. Kabyanga also marketed Uganda as a country of young innovators saying this is one area investors can consider while tapping into the country’s highly skilled, educated and versatile young employable population.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the delegation of one or more IT-intensive business processes to an external provider that in turn owns, administrates and manages selected processes based on defined and measurable performance metrics. Kabbyanga told the attentive UAE investors that BPO and Innovation are not mere buzzwords for the GoU because the authorities in Kampala have always been deliberate about them. He said the GoU takes these two areas very seriously because of the huge potential they have to employ the young people.

As Chairman Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Marisson Rwakakamba made a very good case for Uganda as an excellent BPO investment destination.

“We started a program whose purpose was to identify and support innovators and BPO practitioners and provide growth opportunities for them. We have representatives of the vast Ugandan innovator community who have been participating in the Dubai Expo. We believe that they have experienced breakthrough technologies and learnt about disruptive innovations and we are confident they will bring these lessons back home,” he said.

He added that the Government of Uganda is committed to fostering a trusted and vibrant business environment where businesses and workers are empowered and incentivized to innovate. “We are cognizant that we might not be the largest from a geographical perspective nor the richest from a GDP perspective but we do have Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Innovation capabilities that we can curve out as a niche amongst the many treasures that are resident in our nation.”

Kabbyanga, who led a large delegation that included Minister Nabbosa Sebugwawo, ICT & NG PS Dr. Amina Zawedde and others to the Dubai Expo, further noted that ensuring a thriving tech sector is critical to the future of the Ugandan economy because it is critical to growth, job creation and raising the nation’s productivity. He therefore invited “the world to Uganda to discover Africa’s innovation powerhouse.” “It is a top priority for the whole government and we are determined that Uganda will be a science and tech superpower in Africa and that is why we are bold in inviting the world to discover Africa’s Innovation Powerhouse. Come, let us show you why we believe and know that we are Africa’s Innovation Powerhouse.”

He highlighted the factors which are going to drive Uganda to becoming Africa’s Innovation Powerhouse to include labour availability of over 30,000 youth who annually graduate from Universities, internet connectivity with over 29m subscriptions and the internet cost being low ($25 for every Mbps). Kabyanga also made reference to the technology parks, which the government is developing in all regions of the country, to further drive the point home. “In order for us to do well as a nation, we must complete the innovation and economic cycle from the creation of new knowledge to the utilization of this new knowledge. This means we must translate research into enterprise and to have enterprise demand for new solutions thus creating a positive innovation cycle,” Kabbyanga said.

The main theme of Expo 2020 was “Connecting Minds & Creating the Future.” This is reflective of Uganda’s efforts to amplify and mainstream the use of ICT as a key enabler and driver of the country’s development and transformation agenda. “Uganda as a country will continue to welcome global firms to work alongside Ugandans and advance the frontiers of innovation together. The Ministry of ICT & National Guidance will continue to work towards enabling market-oriented innovation, connecting the best of businesses, talent and ideas from around the world,” Kabbyanga concluded. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com).

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