The Government of Uganda in collaboration with its development partners — Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI), ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and International Trade Centre (ITC) on Monday launched the Netherlands Trust Fund IV (NTFIV) at hotel Africana.
Officials in a statement say the 1.7 million dollar (about Shs6.3 billion) project aims to boost competitiveness of producers and exporters within the IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) sector in Uganda.
Signed on 25 September 2017, NTF IV will end on 30 June 2021.
Over 100 Small & medium enterprises (SMES) and Start-ups have been selected as beneficiaries of the Netherlands Trust Fund Project (NTFIV).
The development comes at a time when government is already funding other strong innovation programs through the National ICT Initiatives Support Program (NIISP).
And speaking at the launch of NTFIV, NITA-U Executive Director James Saaka, who represented Frank Tumwebaze, the minister of Information, Communications Technology & National Guidance, said that “the Government of Uganda is committed to providing support to the industry in various forms in order to realize the benefits envisaged from a fully developed IT & ITES sector.”
According to Saaka, the Government has been able to set up an infrastructural network that can support the IT & ITES in Uganda.
The above, he said, has enabled legal and regulatory environment for the growth of the IT & ITES industry.
Saaka went on to say that the government had also identified appropriate incentives that would boost and attract investors in the IT & ITES sector such as low cost bandwidth to enhance global competition.
On her part, Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde noted the initiative was good for “strengthening of Uganda’s tech industry.”
“We know Ugandan companies have the skills to compete in international markets and NTF IV project will help some climb that last barrier and expand beyond our borders,” Kyambadde said.
In the official statement, International Trade Center Executive Director Arancha González was quoted, saying: “Competitiveness is not an option. It is a necessity if countries are to seize the opportunities presented by trade and new technologies.”
With the NTF IV project, she added, a new chapter in ITC’s support to the development of exports of “Made in Uganda” IT and IT-enabled services will be opened up.
The lead implementers of the project are The National Information Technology Authority of Uganda, under the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance together with), Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), The International Trade center (ITC), The Alliance for Trade in IT and Services (ATIS), The Information and Communication Technology Association of Uganda (ICTAU) and the Uganda Export Promotions Board.
The selected companies will get the following benefits;
-Value acquisition: Improving efficiency within the enterprises and sector at each stage of the value chain, therefore enhancing their competitiveness.
-Value addition: Reinforcing and adding value within the enterprises and sector at each stage of the value chain (e.g. through changes to the attributes of the service/ product, or increasing the perception of value, such as through certification or branding).
-Value creation: Enterprises entering new value chains (including entrepreneurship and innovation) within the sector, or related sectors.
-Impact: Inclusive and Sustainable Development: Improved livelihood of SME owners (particularly women and youth) through income generation and an increased share of the additional wealth created.
The NTF IV Project will add on the achievements of NTF III, where 580 full-time jobs were created, and it also led to an increase of 9.85% in exports and 24% of that growth.