The Ministry of Information, Communication Technology (ICT) through the National Information Technology Agency (NITA U) has launched the revamped global Information Access Centre (IAC) that was donated by the Republic of Korea to Uganda in May 2014.
The Global IAC Project is one of the many projects run by the National Information Society Agency (NIA) of South Korea in 50 partner countries, setup with the goal of bridging digital divides through offering broad opportunities to access of information, IT education and capacity building, free access to internet, open collaborative space for seminars, workshops and training programs.
Uganda`s Centre, located at the Ministry of ICT boosts of a fully equipped 30 seater specialized training facility, a 25 seater Internet Lounge which currently hosts the Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), a 50 seater seminar/conference room and 2 administrative offices all connected to the National Backbone Infrastructure Access Global serviced by a fast reliable internet connection.
According to the agreement signed between the Government of Uganda and the Government of Korea, Korea is supposed to refurbish the centre with new hard and soft installations every 5 years to ensure effectiveness of the computers at the centre.
Speaking at the official launch of the revamped centre, Vicent Bagiire, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT who represented Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze said the centre has been crucial in training government workers on how to use and offer digital government services but also offering a reliable centre for Ugandans who wish to access the digitalized government services.
“The establishment of this Centre is in line with government’s efforts of creating a knowledge based society that leverages ICT as a strategic resource for social and economic and digital empowerment of our people. The Centre is key in bridging the digital divide which has been undertaken through offering citizens broad opportunities of free information sharing, research on future IT trends and technologies, unlimited access to online content for Education, Health, E-commerce, uninterrupted access to high speed internet access,” he said
Since 2015 the Centre has recorded tremendous growth in terms of usage and citizen engagements. For instance, the number of participants trained per year grew from 420 in 2015 to 2,515 in 2018 with the total number of trainees benefiting since its inception standing at more than 4,470. The number of workshop participants per year rose from 480 in 2015 to 1,435 in 2018. Total number of participants who have directly benefited from this space stands at 10,695 as of September 2019.
Hyunmok – Oh, the Director of NIA’s Global Project said the government of Korea was impressed by the way NITA was utilising the facility and promised to continue supporting the government of Uganda in the coming years
“I have been informed that over 10,000 Ugandans have benefited from this centre and have more access to information. We will continue to support the center in all possible ways,” he said
The ED NITA U James Saaka applauded the government of Korea for keeping part of their agreement and revamping the center after five years.
“I am pleased to note that Uganda`s Information Access Centre is the most vibrant of all the 50. I am therefore optimistic that the revitalized Centre will create a more holistic and agile environment to boost e-learning, strengthen Global ICT cooperation between ICT SMEs and start-ups, acceleration of e-government Agenda but above all offer a platform with better access and opportunity to ICT usage andy absorption for the general public, thus contributing to the improvement of an information based society,” he said