Uganda has signed a deal with Microsoft as part of its strategy to create jobs and encourage innovation in the information and communication technology sector.
The memorandum of understanding with Microsoft will see the firm support Uganda to develop platforms for app acceleration, establish innovation hubs to provide creative spaces that will harness the developer ecosystem and developing next generation applications.
“Microsoft will also partner with academic institutions in Uganda to provide content and software that will prepare students for the job market,” Microsoft East Africa’s Lillian Nganda said.
The Microsoft deal comes after the country last year initiated a partnership with tech giant Intel to develop the government’s technology hub in Nakawa, a centre of technology research and development.
“We are encouraging these multinationals to train our talented youth and use them in the local markets as their systems maintenance teams. Why should Microsoft, Google fly in software engineers for system audits and upgrades when we have talented people to perform these tasks?” Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Information and ICT told The EastAfrican.
The arrangement, he said, will give local ICT professionals jobs and also help the multinationals with cheap labour.
The ruling National Resistance Movement party in its manifesto said all government ICT programmes for the next five years will be geared towards creation of jobs for the youth and enhanced production and local innovation.
“We want partnerships that do not involve heavy financial obligations because our ministry’s innovation fund is small. But the good news is that our innovators are doing a great job and so these multinationals will be attracted because of talent that is easy to mentor and work with,” Mr Tumwebaze said.
The ministry is also planning to set up an expert task force to study and advise government on Fourth Industrial Revolution innovations (block chain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies, local apps).
The task force’s study findings will guide the authorities in developing a robust strategy to boost startups and have them adopted on both domestic and international markets.