As the world is turning to digital solutions to address day-to-day challenges, millions of Ugandans in various economic stacks are at the risk of being left behind due to the digital gap and exclusion in the use of new media technologies.
Today, 28 July 2020, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), with the support of the government of Sweden, has announced its partnership with four Ugandan companies to develop and scale-up digital solutions specifically tailored to address the challenges of smallholder farmers in Uganda. The companies to receive funding are; Hamwe East Africa, Nilecom, Cabral Tech Limited, and Quest Digital Finance Limited
Speaking at the event held at the Media Centre in Kampala, Chris Lukolyo the UNCDF Uganda Digital Lead emphasized the role of UNCDF in supporting local innovators in Uganda as a way of working to foster an inclusive digital economy that leaves no one behind
“As the world is turning to digital solutions to address day-to-day challenges, millions of people in Uganda including smallholder farmers, women, youth, and refugees are at risk of being left behind,” he said. “By supporting Ugandan entrepreneurs to build solutions that address particular needs of vulnerable populations, we foster the growth of the digital ecosystem, improve life in these communities and enable excluded groups to become more active participants in the economy.” Chris Lukolyo added.
Also gracing the event were Hon Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Hon Vincent Ssempijja the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, several government dignitaries, and associated partners.
Hon Vincent Ssempijja expressed his appreciation for the initiative saying, “We are witnessing first-hand the role that digital solutions can play in ensuring continuity in sectors like agriculture where disruption of services directly impacts food security and human survival. We are excited about the new opportunities that these digital solutions will provide to smallholder farmers.”
Hon. Nabakooba voiced on how driving the use of technology to increase productivity in agriculture, is one of the objectives of the digital transformation agenda of the National Development Plan III(NDPIII), saying that the ministry has worked hand in hand with UNCDF and the National Planning Authority to mainstream ICT into all programs of the NDPIII.
“I am glad that financial technology innovators are focusing on agriculture because digital transformation in this sector does not only benefit the farmers. It also impacts the food security of millions of Ugandans. The agricultural sector which has previously found it difficult to compete with other tech-savvy industries is now attracting young ICT talent. I am hoping that through innovations like these, the younger generation will start to see agriculture as an attractive job sector.” Judith Nabakooba said.
Inclusive innovation is one of the workstreams of the UNCDF digital strategy with the tag, “Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era” envisioned to promote inclusive digital economies, specifically in least-developed countries (LDCs), in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).