East Africa: Uganda Third in ICT Usage

Technology & Convergence

Uganda is the third highest user of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in East Africa ahead of Tanzania and Burundi but behind Rwanda and Kenya highlighting the need for public sensitisation and more government funding for ICT.

ICT can help developing countries frog-leap stages of development and usher them into first world economies according to a five year strategic plan by the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U).

Uganda is ranked 110th in 144 surveyed countries by the World Economic Forums Networked Readiness Index 2013 under the theme "Benchmarking ICT uptake and support for growth and jobs in a hyper connected world."

The report informs decision makers and investors on ICT readiness and usage in several economies in as regards the Internet economy.

Rwanda is ranked highest in East Africa at 88th position, Kenya comes second at 92nd, Tanzania comes third at 127th and Burundi is the least networked ready nation in the world at the 144th position.

Uganda government's usage of ICT is ranked 88th globally, while usage by businesses in Uganda is at the 106th rank with individual usage at the 131st showing large room for improvement.

ICT got atleast sh16b in budgetary allocations in the financial year 2012/13.

Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, an ICT expert noted in a research paper that there is need to devote the scarce budgetary resources to improving ICT access areas that have the highest return on money.

"The advent of ICT is changing the way we work, learn and interact. With new technologies taking centre stage, business in the world today is changing," Victoria Sekitoleko, a former agriculture minister said.

Sekitoleko notes that the public needs to be educated about the benefits of e-Government, e-tax, mobile money, e-banking, digitalisation of TV and e-learning.

Sekitoleko and an elite panel that includes Dr. Jimmy Saamanya - the permanent secretary ministry of ICT and Paul Kihika- the UBC boss will hold a public forum under the theme "ICT and You" at the WBS Auditorium this week.

Also on the panel will be Dr. FF Tusubira - the NITA-U chairman, Irene Sewankambo, a coordinator with the Uganda communications Commission and Fabian Kasi the Centenary Bank boss.