Uganda fast-tracks use of latest digital technologies, says Minister Baryomunsi

by Business Times
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Uganda government is fast-tracking digital to harness new emerging technologies to be able to digitize every aspect of key sectors including education, health, and agriculture among others, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance has said.

Presenting at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2023), in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, February 29, 2023, Dr. Baryomunsi said that the Uganda government is also planning to implement cloud computing and establish a national data lab to enable seamless access to information on all government ministries, agencies, and programmes.

“These days we generate a lot of data as a country and we don’t want to be part of the countries that generate a lot of data but store it outside their countries,” Dr. Baryomunsi said, detailing Uganda’s digital journey in relation to accelerating public service through the digital journey.   

According to Baryomunsi, the country can’t transform unless ICT is put at the center of life in all key areas such as health, education, agriculture.

Minister of ICT Dr Chris Bayromunsi(C) pauses for a photo with panelists at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain(PHOTO/Courtesy)

”All the sectors of public life must embrace technology in order for the country to have accelerated transformation. “We are in the process of having a national lab and data center, and we have established a national backbone structure.”

The Uganda Vision 2040 identifies ICT among the key fundamentals as well as an opportunity to spur Uganda’s transformation into a modern and prosperous country.

Baryomunsi said ICT is now Uganda’s fastest-growing sector and is also a major driver to Uganda’s Middle-income status just as the 2040 Digital vision states.

He explained that in building robust ultra-high speed, intelligent, and trusted high-speed ICT infrastructure all over the country, the government has diligently worked towards expanding the nation’s digitalization in a number of fields, in order to unleash the multiplier effect of ICT on associated secondary and tertiary industries for tremendous impact on the economy.

The Mobile World Congress(MWC 2023) is happening at the Fira de Barcelona convention center between February 27th and March 2nd.

MWC has been a quieter affair for the past couple of years and was canceled entirely in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic.  

More than 80,000 industry experts, researchers, business leaders, and executives are at MWC Barcelona 2023 to watch over 2000 exhibitors and sponsors demonstrating their innovations.

The exhibition technology in smart homes, smart offices, cloud solutions, and safe and smart cities.

The other topics are centering on 5G connectivity, smart cities, and mobile devices.

Recently Airtel Uganda announced that their Smartphone Network is now ready for the trailblazing 5G technology. The development was announced at their Clement Hill office by the Managing Director,  Manoj Murali.

5G is the 5th generation mobile network that enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices at very high speeds.  It delivers higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users.

5G can support a significant higher number of devices per square kilometre compared to the existing 4G technologies. This makes 5G the suitable network over which remote teams can collaborate to undertake tasks like surgery, shared online school classes, farmers can share live video farming tips, engineering tasks over video and stream gaming and other entertainment experiences.

The 11 towers that have successfully tested the 5G technology in Uganda include areas such as Industrial area, Garden City Area, Upper Kololo, Clement Hill, Hannington Road, Lower airstrip Kololo and Wampewo Avenue. Customers with 5G compatible devices can now enjoy the 5G experience using their existing 4G SIM Cards. All other Airtel sites across the country have been configured and are ready for deployment once the spectrum has been allocated.

Speaking to the press Wednesday, Manoj said, “I am privileged to announce yet another Airtel first milestone in Uganda’s digital transformation journey. Airtel Uganda is now 5G ready. Since 2018, Ugandans have known us for a 4G network that covers this beautiful country border to border. Over this network, Airtel Uganda has delivered world class affordable voice, data, and financial services. We are pleased to start yet another journey with you on 5G”

Airtel Uganda, Managing Director, Manoj Murali, and Rajesh Agrawal, the Network Director at Airtel Uganda during a press briefing where Airtel Uganda announced that their Smartphone Network is now ready for the 5G technology(PHOTO/Courtesy)

Manoj revealed that Airtel Uganda has already applied for the required spectrum from the sector regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). Spectrum is a finite resource for the country and its use is regulated by the regulator.

“According to the National Development Plan III, use of ICT infrastructure is a key objective. An agile Smartphone network like Airtel Uganda’s is pivotal in the journey of Uganda’s Economic growth through digital and financial inclusion of every person.  We are completely aligned to the Uganda’s broadband Strategy and accordingly ready to launch 5G technology”

ALSO READ: The Apps revolutionalising Uganda’s transport sector

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