Ministry of ICT Partners With JICA to Kick Off ICT Industry Promotion Project

The Ministry of ICT and National Guidance in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has today officially launched the ICT Industry Promotion Project, during the first Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting at the National ICT Innovation Hub.

The JCC is the highest-level decision-making committee. This meeting consisted of different stakeholders from the Government, academia and the private sector was headed by the Permanent Secretary of MoICT&NG Dr. Aminah Zawedde, who is also the Project Director.

In November 2022, the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance, signed a Record of Discussion (ROD) with JICA to strengthen the ICT ecosystem and accelerate the creation of jobs for Ugandan Youth. The ROD is meant to herald access to one of the world’s most digitized nations, Japan, and its advanced technology knowledge, market, and platforms through the ICT Industry Promotion Project, dubbed UJ-Connect.

The project has four expected outputs;

  1. Policy Support: policy recommendations & a conceptual framework for an
    enabling environment to support the ICT services industry are developed.
  2. Human Resource Development: A practical training program for strengthening
    the competitiveness of ICT human resources (e.g. Software engineers) is developed & delivered in collaboration with the stakeholders in the ICT industry.
  3. Business Matching: Business matchmaking between Ugandan & foreign ICT
    enterprises is promoted by strengthening the competitiveness of Ugandan enterprises.
  4. Mentorship: Technology-drive and entrepreneurship is strengthened & promoted.
    With the launch of the UJ-Connect, Uganda is poised to take a significant leap forward in its ICT industry. By leveraging the expertise and resources of Japan, the project aims to create a thriving ecosystem that will drive economic growth, job creation, and technological advancement in the country.

In her remarks during the meeting, the Permanent secretary of the Ministry of ICT and NG Uganda, Dr. Aminah Zawedde, said: “Our country’s greatest asset is its young and vibrant population with an average age of 16 years and at least 30,000 university graduates annually. Therefore, we must focus on creating job opportunities for our youth by providing valuable employment prospects for young people”.

She informed the meeting that, the UJ-Connect Project is not just another collaboration; it’s a transformative initiative with a clear vision to achieve Uganda’s identified priority areas in the Digital Transformation Roadmap over the next four years. By creating a robust regulatory framework (output 1), nurturing ICT human resources (output 2), and supporting the innovation and start-up ecosystem (output 3 and 4), we aim to foster sustainable growth in the ICT industry.

Mr. Yiochi Inoue, The Chief Representative JICA also stressed that the UJ-Connect project will work towards strengthening the ICT ecosystem in Uganda and this shall be demonstrated through various indicators like increasing number of companies in the ICT sector, developing a Human resource matching platform for ICT engineers, establishing a sustainable tech-entrepreneurship support program, and increasing business matching between local & global ICT companies among others.

“Last week, we held a day-long consultative workshop with private sector players in the ICT ecosystem where we extensively discussed on the priority areas of the project carried out by our project team, including; Application Software (such as Mobile App / Web App), Database Management and Analysis, Cybersecurity, among others. The project team will work towards strengthening these areas through the different project outputs as you will know later in the program”, he said.

H.E. Mr. Hidemoto Fukuzawa, The Ambassador to Japan in Uganda, highlighted that the ICT industry in Uganda is already a growing sector, driven by the government and private companies, including domestic and foreign start-ups, as it contributes to the high valueadded to the industry through digital transformation.

“I am hopeful that the project will promote ICT industry growth and it will lead to the growth of the republic of Uganda”, he added.

He also noted that the UJ-Connect project will contribute to human capacity development, including both UICT (Uganda Institute of Information and Communication Technology) staff and ICT human resources, and to ICT business expansion by establishing a business matching platform.

In his keynote address, The Minister of ICT and National Guidance Hon. Dr. Chris Baryomunsi expressed his appreciation of Japan’s support and collaboration with the government of Uganda through the Ambassador of Japan to Uganda and JICA in different development initiatives. He also emphasized government’s appreciation of the role of ICT in fostering ICT for national development which is why ICT has been integrated in all initiatives of the Social-economic development of Uganda.

Ministry of ICT Partners With JICA to Kick Off ICT Industry Promotion Project
Chris Baryomunsi speaking at the Launch of the project in Kampala.

“For a long time, the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Japan have enjoyed cordial relationships. Over the years the Japanese Government has facilitated many developmental initiatives in Uganda that include infrastructure development projects, capacity building, and skilling of Ugandans among others. I am extremely delighted to note that the Japanese support to Uganda has now been extended to the area of ICTs”. He said.

The Government of Uganda has invested significantly in expanding ICT infrastructure across the country, ensuring that more citizens have access to the internet and digital services. This has been instrumental in bridging the digital divide and promoting inclusivity. Similarly, Uganda has actively engaged in public-private partnerships to attract foreign investment and expertise in the ICT sector, promoting knowledge transfer and technology adoption.

It is in this regard that the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance on behalf of the Government of Uganda partnered with the JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) on behalf of the Japanese Government for the promotion of the ICT Industry in Uganda.

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