Dubai: Uganda’s innovation push is driving its development: Prime Minister

H.E. Ruhakana Ruganda discusses Uganda’s ongoing efforts to foster innovation and scale up infrastructure development at the Global Business Forum Africa 2019 in Dubai

Uganda is using innovation to solve social challenges, drive its development, and create new employment opportunities, H.E. Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda, Prime Minister of Uganda said during an opening session at the Global Business Forum Africa (GBF Africa 2019) in Dubai earlier today.

During the session, H.E. Ruganda shared his insights on how Uganda is fostering innovation and technology to unlock its economic potential, citing the example of mobile technology being used to register and track valuable data, address existing issues and improve access to education.

“These efforts in innovation taking place in Uganda – especially by the younger generation – are also being replicated in similar settings in a number of African counties in East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa and North Africa,” he said.

Discussing Uganda’s need to create 600,000 jobs every year for the next 10 and his country’s new programme to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Prime Minister was asked about how Uganda could balance its innovation push with much-needed infrastructure projects.

“There are very many things to be done and we must choose priorities – priorities that will have a lasting and positive impact on the economy. For example, we are focusing on physical infrastructure to ensure that the road network, rail network, air and water transport is improved,” he said.

“But at the same time, we are putting a focus on building a national backbone infrastructure so that a digital infrastructure is in place and that the people have access to connectivity. About 10 years ago, we had only two per cent of Ugandans connected to the Internet. As I speak now, about 30 per cent of Ugandans are connected. We think that this is a significant improvement,” he noted, adding that the government is committed to investing more on research and development – two elements which he says are required to keep fostering innovation.

He also noted that substantial resources are being invested into Uganda’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, while an innovation fund for ICT areas has also been put in place to support startups in the sector.

Organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GBF Africa 2019 is being hosted under the theme “Scale-Up Africa”, bringing together public and private sector stakeholders from the UAE and African countries to examine key trends and explore new avenues of economic cooperation. The high-level forum, held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, concludes today (November 19th) at Madinat Jumeirah.