Uganda should train computer designers and not just users if the Information, Communication and Technology sector is to develop to the level of other countries outside the African continent.
The advice was given by President Yoweri Museveni while commissioning the National Taskforce of Fourth Industrial Revolution Experts at state house Entebbe on Monday afternoon. The committee according to Hon. Frank Tumwebaze the ICT minister, will help define how ICT can create more jobs for Ugandan youths, and also help government understand new technologies.
Under the chairmanship of former Transport minister Eng. John Nasasira, the taskforce will be run under the office of the prime minister, while its secretariat will be housed at the ICT ministry offices in Kampala. According to Tumwebaze, the taskforce will guide on education and identify challenges for adoption of new technologies.
He also says the ICT ministry two years ago received UGX 13bn to support innovators by building an ICT hub at Nakawa. Also, 5 local innovation hubs have been given grants to train youths in ICT, while 12 Applications have been developed locally. Hon. Tumwebaze asked the President to support a budget increase for this purpose to UGX 30bn since 600 applications have been received from Ugandans seeking grants this year. He added that 10,000 USD is enough to help each company.
However, President Yoweri Museveni warned that if the taskforce is to succeed, it should not follow the bandwagon, but slowly build onto projects the country already started on. He challenged the 23 experts to include computer designers in their planning as using other people's technology is not helpful.
The President also warned that even with the improvement in technology, Uganda should not forget about manufacturing as this is the main way to make money. He further challenged them to eat or even put on computers if it were possible, saying that the introduction of technology should not take over the basic needs of a human being.
"Recently in New York, this Chinese man Jack Ma told us that Africa should leave manufacturing and concentrate on technology, that is very dangerous. I am wearing a shirt now not a computer, people still eat muhogo not computers. I hear we should leave manufacturing for some other people" the president told the gathering.
He promised to lobby for the UGX 30bn the ICT ministry needs as that is very little money. He however says less important things like traveling and salary increase should be put on hold.
The committee includes scientists, academia, media practitioners among other experts.