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Tumwebaze Launches ‘Re-factory’ Course to Boost ICT Innovations

Minister Hon. Frank Tumwebaze has intimated he felt relieved after being moved from management of Kampala affairs to the Information Technology and Communications docket, a position that allowed me take on the mantle of developing a robust ICT industry in Uganda.

He made these remarks while officiating at the official launch of a tech program dubbed ‘Re-factory’ held at Clarke University in Muyenga, Kampala on Wednesday.

Tumwebaze said he was exhausted of running Kampala affairs and thus was praying for another cabinet appointment.

“Three years ago after elections, I was in a swimming pool. After a heavy election, I was really trying to cool down and waiting for a new cabinet. And I was praying that I shouldn’t go back to this Kampala thing. I was very tired of Kampala. Obviously you know what I am talking about,” Tumwebaze narrated.

Tumwebaze as minister of Kampala said he had a tough time getting to work with the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

Tensions reached fever pitch when the latter was impeached in November 2013 from his seat after falling out with majority of city councilors.

He said he was elated when he received news that he had been posted elsewhere. However he said, he had to reconfigure himself to match the job description.

Tumwebaze however called upon the media to pick interest in showcasing ICT innovations and their role in changing the economic trajectory of Uganda.

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“The more we tell the story, we shall become digital ambassadors and create market for the young innovators. This potential can be bigger if we combine efforts,” he says.

To the students, Tumwebaze urged them to ensure that their innovations suit existing societal needs.

He said that next week government shall announce its second round of support to over 50 ICT innovators.

Without specifying who and how much, Tumwebaze says these innovations were accessed and marketable.

Refactory is an ICT course that seeks to address the shortage of skilled software developers in Uganda. According to Mr. Micheal Niyitegeka the programme director, the teaching module is in three phases.

First students are given a catalyst course where they are exposed to different IT technologies for three months.

Thereafter, those that show exceptional ability are enrolled in a six-month boot camp where they derive solutions to industrial partners’ problems.

Lastly, successful candidates are given the opportunity to work at an elite ICT company for 6-12 months.

The programme was initiated late last year courtesy of a USD 2 million (Shs 7.5 billion) grant from the Norwegian government.

Founded by Fontes foundation, Clarke University and Laboremus, the programme shall be running for four consecutive years.

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