Uganda is currently implementing ICT-related initiatives in the areas of eInfrastructure (Research and Education Network Uganda, Broadband Services ERT Programme, National Backbone, Migration from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting Project, eNetwork project), eGovernment (Electronic Government Infrastructure, Voter Registration, National Identify Cards project, ICT4Democracy in East Africa project), Technology-enhanced Learning (Connect Ed project, National Curriculum Development Centre, VSAT project, SchoolNet Uganda, Content Development at National Teachers Colleges, Connecting Classrooms project, Improving Learning Outcomes through ICT project, ITELE for ICT project, Helping teachers use ICT for Teaching project), eHealth (Improving health care delivery, Health Child project, Electronic Rural Health Information Project, Malaria Diagnostic Systems project), eCommerce (District Business Information Systems, Reflect ICT Resource Centre, Village Phone Project), ICT for Rural Development and Entrepreneurship (Microsoft Innovation Centre).
RENU was set up in 2006 as a not-for-profit limited company owned by the universities and research institutions through the Vice Chancellors Forum to establish a Research and Education Network (NREN) for Uganda. The Uganda Communications Commission granted RENU a special license to operate a private communications network that can provide an international gateway and transmit members' traffic from NRENS in neighbouring countries.
RENU is a member of UbutuNet Alliance, part of AfricaConnect, and has an agreement with the Dutch NREN, which facilitates network equipment procurement at discounted prices.
It is currently hosted in Makerere University and has 10 - 12 active members (public and private universities), who all pay the same membership fee. This facilitates group purchasing of bandwidth. The Board of Directors is representative of academia and industry. At present RENU has an ICT Directors Forum and a Librarian meeting. In the future it would like to have a Researchers Forum to facilitate sharing of experiences and an annual research conference to ensure good awareness of the research being undertaken at national level. During 2015 Direct Engineering Assistance agreements with signed with eight universities (Gulu University, Uganda Christian University (Mukono and Mbale campuses) Nkumba University, Makerere University, Mult-Tech Business School, Uganda Management Institute, Ndejje University and Uganda Martyrs University - Nkozi).
RENU is a beneficiary under AfricaConnect and Africa Connect 2 eInfrastructure projects through UbuntuNet Alliance to a transcontinental network. A point of presence was put in place during 2014 - 2015.
The World Bank Board approved a total grant amount of US$8 million for ERT cycle II programme under an ICT sub-component. The main investment programme of the project includes sub county broadband services for Northern Uganda and Communication Information Centres are planned to be implemented. The National Commission for Science and Technology put the criteria for disbursement of the funds in place.
An eGovernment Masterplan has been put in place to guide eGovernment implementation over the next five years.
During the 2014 /2015 Financial Year the following activities were undertaken:
- NITA-U undertook consolidation of Government hardware and software licenses with the objective of accelerating delivery of e-government services through reduced costs of licenses. A Master Business Services Agreement was signed with Microsoft and negotiations with Oracles are at an advanced stage.
- An Information Access Centre (IAC) was set up in conjunction with the Government of Korea. The centre aims to enhance citizen participation and engagement in public policy and governance;
- Technical support was provided towards the establishment of a Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC) championed by Office of the President; to Uganda Investment Authority to establish a One Stop Centre (OSC) and to establish over 20 eGOvernment systems including the integration of national systems and databases, Electronic Single Window, eProcurement, eVisa and standardisation of Government websites.
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Information Communication Technology is spearheading the development of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and the Electronic Government Infrastructure (EGI). This US$ 100 million project implemented by NITA-U is a public private partnership designed to complement private sector initiatives to relieve the acute shortage of bandwidth in three phases.
The NBI is intended to ensure that high bandwidth data connection is available in all major towns of Uganda at reasonable rates. The EGI is designed to reduce the cost of doing business in government, improving communication between government agencies and reducing the need for officials to commute for meetings and thus increasing efficiency.
Phases I and II of The NBI have been completed and consists of the following:
- Laying of 1536.39Km of Optical Fibre Cable across the country to build the National Data Transmission Backbone;
- Connection of NBI to the borders of Southern Sudan (Elegu) and Kenya (Malaba and Busia) thereby linking the country to other regional backbone infrastructure;
- Expansion of the Government Metropolitan Area Network into a Wide Area Network covering the towns of Kampala, Entebbe, Bombo, Mukono, Jinja, Busia, Tororo, Malaba, Kumi, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Masindi, Nakasongola, Luwero, Mbarara, Kasese, Fort Portal and Kyenjojo.
The EGI component consists of the e-Government Infrastructure installed in 27 main line Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Primary Data Center. This infrastructure is supporting the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), Video Conferencing Services, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and the Secure Messaging and Collaboration Platform (SMCS). The SMCS platform has been successfully piloted in three sites namely: State House, Ministry of ICT and NITA - U. Other MDAs will follow the roll out of these pilot sites through the IT Rationalisation Program.
Achievements to date include:
- Delivery and installation of communication equipment to the 27 Ministries and Departments that form the E-Government network was been completed;
- Videoconferencing services have been deployed to 27 Ministries and Departments;
- Backup communication equipment for each of the EGI sites have been delivered and installed;
- VoIP service is currently under test and three (3) pilot sites; NITA-U, Ministry of Foreign Affair and Ministry of Internal Affairs have been identified for the deployment of the service.
- NITA-U has realigned the National Backbone Infrastructure Program to confirm quality of the Optic fibre cable and all installations done in Phase I and the subsequent Phases to ensure reliability in providing services to the citizens.
- A detailed quality assurance process has been developed to ensure quality of Phase I and Phase II of the NBI/EGI Project.
The NBI Phase III will connect Kabale, Katuna, Malaba, Masaka and Mutukula. Phase III will also provide an alternative route to the undersea cables at Mutukula through mainland Tanzania to the East African Submarine cables and will also connect Uganda to the Rwandan border. All other districts will be reached using the last-mile connectivity programme using other connectivity technologies such as WiMax.
The Parliament of Uganda has approved the implementation of Phase IV to facilitate the connection of Sironko, Kapchorwa, Nakapiripirt, Moroto, Kotido, Kitgum, Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Arua, Nebbi and Pakwach towns. Since funding for Phase IV is not covered under the concessional loan from the People's Republic of China, the Government of Uganda will source the necessary funding.
During the 2014/2015 Financial Year, the following activities were undertaken:
- The National Backbone infrastructure (NBI) was extended to connect 45 sites with Kampala and Entebbe. This has enabled access of high speed internet at affordable costs through bulk procurement.
- Seven Public Universities (Gulu University, Mbarara University, Kyambogo University, Busitema University, Makerere University Business School and Uganda Management Institute) have been connected to the NBI to enable access to high speed internet connectivity and facilitate e-learning and research.
- Five Ministries, Departments and Agencies (URA, MFPED, FIA and MOICT, State House) are now hosted in the NITA-U Data Centre
- Distribution infrastructure for digital TV Broadcasting was installed for the greater Kampala area.
- The loan for Phase III of the National Backbone Infrastructure Project was approved by Exim bank in March 2015.
- The Business Process Outsourcing incubation centre was officially launched and employs 323 youth.
Funding sources : Uganda government and implement by the Uganda Ministry of ICT
Geographic scope and time frame: National; ongoing.
This project aimed to provide choice to consumers with different service providers through
- Interoperability of systems
- Ensuring the presence of a competitive market
- Efficient use of spectrum
The Digital Broadcasting Migration Policy envisaged the delivery of quality education, health and small, medium and micro enterprises, the opportunity for developing new skills and the creation of new jobs, and new investment opportunities. The key benefit of digital broadcasting is that it enables the utilization of the scarce national radio frequency spectrum far more efficiently than analogue technologies.
UCC fulfilled the international switch off of Analogue TV Transmission on 17 June 2015. Digital cover had been in place for 18 months in the greater Kampala area and a phased switch off of the analogue signal was undertaken in other areas during July and August 2015.
Funding sources : Chinese government and implementation by the Uganda Ministry of ICT
Geographic scope and time frame : National; completed.
This project focused on enhance transparency, accountability in the election management process, increase voter confidence in the electoral process in the 2010 general elections. This project was supported by the International foundation for Electoral systems and USAID. The purpose was to support the voter registration process and enhance the credibility of the voter registers by strengthening access to the register and providing it online. USAID, the Electoral Commission, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) also cooperated to develop an SMS text messaging system to facilitate any voter with a cell phone to verify voter registration status and polling station assignments via text
Organization(s)/funding sources : The registry is part of the U.S. government's ongoing support of democracy in Uganda and was funded through a US$600,000 USAID grant to IFES to work with the Electoral Commission to develop the secure registry site.
Geographic scope and time frame : National
The National Security Information System (NSIS) project was focused on implementing a biometric and central data management and identity card registration. It aimed to help government to have easy identification of Ugandans on the government pay roll, social security, police and army and within the east African community. All eligible Ugandan citizens of voting age (18 years and above) been registered during 2015 and national identification cards and unique National Identification Number (NIN) are being issued.
Organization(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government, Implementation overseen by Uganda Ministry of ICT
Geographic scope and time frame : National
The ICT4Democracy in East Africa project (June 2011 - July 2013) was based on leveraging the potential of ICT to increase citizens' participation in decision-making processes, thus strengthening democratisation. Launched in June 2011, the ICT4Democracy Network in East Africa consists of 7 partners in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania (Kenya Human Rights Commission, iHubResearch-Kenya, Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance-Tanzania, Toro Development Network-Uganda, Women of Uganda Network, Transparency International - Uganda and The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)). The Network initially received seed funding from the Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider). It is a network of organisations collaboratively leveraging on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance communication and the right to freedom of expression, as well as the right to seek, receive and impart information to enhance civic empowerment and improve governance.
During late 2013, the network was successful in receiving a Grant of SEK 8.4 million from SIDA under the Swedish Government's Special Initiative for Democratisation and Freedom of Expression.
Organization(s)/funding sources : SPIDER / SIDA
Geographic scope and time frame : Regional - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania
A number of projects were initiated over the past decade to support the education system including the Connect-ED project to put computers and Internet Points of Presence in Teacher colleges (commenced in 2000 with support from USAID); CurriculumNet Project to prepare an ICT-based curriculum materials in mathematics and geography for primary schools and mathematics and science for secondary schools (commenced 2001 with support from IDRC); VSAT project and SchoolNet Uganda project; Content Development project at National Teacher Colleges (commenced in 2005 with support from IICD); Connecting Classrooms project (2006 - 2007 supported by British Council); UConnect supporting connectivity and training in schools (commenced activities in 1995) and iNetwork Project (commenced in 2002 with support from IICD). More recent projects are described below.
The "Improving Learning Outcomes through ICT" project ran from December 2011 to 31 December 2014. It is focused on improving learning outcomes for girls in particular in primary schools in the Apac District of Uganda through access to ICT. It aimed to train teachers and school administrators in learner centered teaching and learning methodologies, facilitate access to up to date teaching and learning materials, build capacity of teachers, facilitate networking between schools and provide life skills to pupils for improved self confidence. The target group was 100 primary school pupils and 40 primary school teachers.
Organization(s)/funding sources : Partners included: Connect4Change, Edukans, IICD (Netherlands) and Education Local Expertise Centre Uganda, FAWEU and I-Network (Uganda). Funded through Grant of €36,000 from Edukans, Netherlands.
Geographic scope and time frame : Apac District of Uganda, December 2011 - December 2014.
IICD ran the "ITELE for ICT" project from December 2011 to 31 December 2014. It was focused on improving literacy and numeracy in primary education in the Serere District in Eastern Uganda through the integration of ICT in teaching and learning processes. The projects aimed to train 20 teachers in 8 targeted primary schools and then 10 teachers per school by 2014 to develop Information Communication based teaching content, lesson planning and scheming and support pupils to design, develop and disseminate IEC materials that address community needs and concerns.
Organization(s)/funding sources : Partners included: Connect4Change, Edukans, IICD (Netherlands) and Education Local Expertise Centre Uganda, HNU and I-Network (Uganda). Funded through Grant of €39,568 from Edukans, Netherlands.
Geographic scope and time frame : Serere District in Eastern Uganda, December 2011 - December 2014.
IICD launched the "Helping teachers use ICT for teaching" project in December 2010. It focused on training teachers and sensitising Head Teachers in Western Uganda and West Nile of the importance of using ICT for Education and for school management. It aimed to train 400 teachers and senior staff on how to use computers to improve classroom instruction, teaching materials and school administration in 13 schools.
Organization(s)/funding sources : Partners included Connect4Change, CharITy, IICD (Netherlands), Close the Gap (Belgium) and Computers for Schools Uganda (CFSU), I-Network (Uganda). Funding of €110,820 from CFSU (€18,203), IICD (€35,117), Close the Gap (€47,500) and CharITy (€10,000)
Geographic scope and time frame : Western Uganda and West Nile, December 2010 - 01 December 2015
This project is focused on improving health care delivery through continuing medical education (CME) for rural health workers by using ICTs and multimedia. The major focus is on gathering and repackaging high-quality health information for dissemination through ICTs. Training in the use of basic ICTs is provided.
Organisation(s)/funding sources : Co-sponsored by Cordaid and IICD and implemented by Uganda Martyrs University, Faculty of Health Sciences, and the three hospitals of Itojo in Ntungamo district, Nkozi in Mpigi district and Mutolere in Kisoro district
Geographic scope and time frame : District-based; ongoing.
ICT maintenance facilities for rural Uganda have been established at five technical colleges. An ICT maintenance facility will be set up at each college to provide technical support and to introduce a new course called ICT Installation and Maintenance to train technicians.
Organisation(s)/funding sources: The Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology, established by Uganda Communications Commission, manages the project with the support of the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD).
Geographic scope and time frame : The five UTCs are located in or near upcountry towns and are geographically well distributed throughout the country. Launched in 2005; ongoing.
The STAR Parent project built on past projects implemented by Health Child to improve maternal and child health conditions in Uganda. It ran from October 2012 until 30 September 2015. ICT was adopted to complement the project activities, which focus on improving pregnancy outcomes, neonatal and child survival. The project was implemented in close partnership with Village Health Teams, Local leaders, health centre, District Health Office and Ministry of Health.
Organisation(s)/funding sources: Partners included: Connect4Change, Cordaid, IICD (Netherlands) and Health Child and I-Network (Uganda). Funded through Grant of €166,395 from IICD (€64,725) and Cordaid (€101,670).
Geographic scope and time frame : Jinja, Lira and Apac districts in Uganda, October 2012 to 30 September 2015
Makerere University Faculty of Computing and Information Technology won an Africa Union (AU) bid to create an e-network that will provide connectivity for Eastern and Central African countries to a pan-African network through fibre optics and wireless links. This will enable the sharing of resources such as BlackBoard digital learning software, backups, and elearning courses. The faculty has a department that trains staff in e-learning and supports elearning in the whole of the university.
Organisation(s)/funding sources : Funding was provided by the Government of India through the AU. Makerere was the lead university serving Comoros, Djibouti, Eriteria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Geographic scope and time frame : Eastern and central African regions; project announced in July 2006.
Towards the end of 2010, the Ministry of Health released a Mother-Child Health Passport (MCH HP). The Mother-Child Health Passport is an initiative to improve maternal and child health in Uganda. It has already been started in a number of African countries including Malawi, Benin, Tanzania and Kenya. It replaces and combines the antenatal and child health cards. This Mother-Child Health Passport is a medical document that records pertinent facts, findings, and observations about an individual child's health history including natal history, past and present illnesses, tests, treatments and outcomes. It will also chronologically document the care of the mother during pregnancy and the child after delivery, thus offering an important element contributing to high-quality care. As in the rest of Africa, it is paper based and therefore will have the inherent problems associated with manual paper based medical documentation systems. To ameliorate these problems, the paper system should be supplemented by an electronic system. This will revolutionise the health care system and efforts need to be made to enable the health system proceed from manual or semi-automatic data processing to a new method of entering, storage, and searching and protecting data using an affordable and safe electronic system.
This will also improve efficiency in data for health care and administration such health insurance accounts and other health surveys.
Organisation(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government in collaboration with ICTs for African Rural Development (ICTARD), Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi. Department of Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS)
Geographic scope and time frame : National
The overall objective of the malaria diagnostic systems project is to design and implement an easy to use computerized system that has the capabilities to perform accurate diagnosis of malaria, recommend appropriate treatment for malaria, capture and update malaria patient data in real time, provide a platform for sharing data among health establishments, streamline the reporting to the ministry of health and also generate relevant patients and dug management reports
Organisation(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government
Geographic scope and time frame : National
This project aims to address the needs of the community demand driven ICT based services. Since its launch in 2008, the District Business Information Centers (DBIC) project has established DBICS in the Districts of Kamwenge, Lira, Busia, Mityana, Iganga, Rukungiri, Tororo, Kitgum, Rakai, Hoima and Amuru.
Special Training was provided to the initial DBICS Managers to improve their Operations in 2011 and DBICS Managers were trained to provide E-Tax services in their Districts through collaboration with the E-Tax Department in Uganda Revenue Authority. NITA-U has partnered with the United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO) to further improve the delivery of services in the existing DBICS centres.
Following the ICT Parliamentary Committee Directive to harmonize all DBICs similar projects under UCC, Posta-Uganda and NITA-U, an MOU with Posta-Uganda has been developed to guide onward deployments of DBICS. The Turn Key solution contract was signed in November 2011with United Engineering Services to deliver DBICS in Amuru, Hoima and Rakai. Installation of the DBICS in Rakai and Hoima was completed by March 2012 after the MOU with Posta-Uganda has been signed. The Installation for Amuru was completed by 24th February 2012.
Organization and funding sources : UNIDO with funding from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and in close cooperation with local public and private sector representatives has developed a network of business information centers (BIC) in 8 districts, to see how they can support them in terms of ICT access. These include Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Kabale, Masaka, Masindi, mbale and Soroti
Geographic scope and time frame : 8 districts' initially but extending to another 8 districts in Uganda, 6 to be funded by government (Ministry of ICT) and 2 to be funded by UNIDO. The project is National; ongoing
The Reflect ICT resource centre has been equipped with computers (Internet connected), printers, digital camera and video, generator, UPS, public address system, World Space radio, and solar-operated radios, along with other office equipment including a photocopier. The aim is to facilitate access to agricultural, health, and commercial information based on needs that the 10 communities identified.
Organization(s)/funding sources : DIFD, and community contributions.
Geographic scope and time frame : The project is located in Bukuuku sub-county in Kabarole district, western Uganda.
The Village Phone Project provides micro loans to eight local businesses to enable establishing a community phone service. Testing of additional technologies will be done.
Organization(s)/funding sources : Grameen Foundation in partnership with MTN Uganda
Geographic scope and time frame : Started in 2003 in selected communities; ongoing.
The Second Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT II) Project financed by the World Bank is a long-term project aligned with the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) mandate by extending the country's electricity supply to rural areas. The project has three components: i) construction of the rural energy infrastructure, ii) financing internet broadband extension to rural areas and iii) financing solar PV energy packages for rural schools, health clinics and water facilities.
Organization(s)/funding sources The World Bank funding of US$75 million. Implementation overseen by Office of Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF).
Geographic scope and time frame : National
In 2006, the Community Wireless Resource Centre (CWRC), which was established under the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology, Makerere University, setup local wireless networks at three sites - Nabweru Telecentre, Lira Canadian Physicans for Aid and Relief (CPAR) telecentre and Kabale/Kachwekano Telecentres. The wireless networks were established with technical support from IT+46, a Swedish ICT organisation, and with financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in the amount of US$ 89,866. The general objective of the CWRC is to provide or enhance sustainable Internet connectivity infrastructure, particularly in rural or under served areas in Uganda, by means of wireless technology. The specific objectives are to (1) implement and support the maintenance of community wireless networks, initially targeting the IDRC-funded Telecentres by establishing a Community Wireless Resource Center in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology, at Makerere University; (2) build capacity, among students at the Electrical Engineering department and the technical staff at the Telecentres, in the design, installation and maintenance of community wireless networks including bandwidth management and efficient traffic provisioning; (3) undertake research to assess the technical feasibility and economic business/partnership models of community wireless networks; and (4) document and share the results widely.
Organization(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government under the MSI World Bank project
The "Building a Sustainable ICT Training Capacity in the Public Universities in Uganda" NUFFIC One project 2003 - 2008 (€4 million) was very successful in boosting the ICT capacity of staff and students in the four Public Universities in Uganda. The project supported curriculum development and implementation, development of research capacity and advise in the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for ICT Training and Research at Makerere University, ICT infrastructure development, collaborations among the Public Universities, gender policy, ICT Policy and Master Plans leveraging expertise from the Netherlands.
Based on the success of this project, spin off projects were launched including: NPT project on 'Strengthening ICT Training and Research Capacity in the Four Public Universities in Uganda'; and NPT Project on 'Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of Uganda's Technical Colleges. All the project activities and objectives were completed including 5 new MSc and 5 PhD graduates.
In 2008 CIT (Makerere University) together with the Southern Faculty of Computing & Information Technology and IT, the Institute of Computer Science at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, the Departments of Computer Science at Kyambogo and Gulu Universities collaborated to develop, implement and manage relevant educational and research programs for poverty alleviation, rural and economic development. This project (€5.7 million, 2008 - 2011) resulted in Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Gulu University and Kyambogo University partnering with University of Groningen, Radboud University Nijmegen (RUN) and Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) to support University staff and students in the Ugandan institutions and ICT Policy makers.
As part of an ICT partnership between Makerere University and Huawei to boost ICT in the university, Huawei sent 10 students and tutors for a one week specialized training in ICT at the Huawei Training Center in Nairobi in late June 2012. The programme included WCDMARAN System Overview, LTE Systems Overview and Transport Solution Training, IP Network Technologies and service Training and Mobile SoftSwitch Fundamental Training.
In November 2011 the Innovation Centre (CIT), College of Computing and Information Science, Makerere University was re-launched by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Microsoft as the first Microsoft Innovation Centre in Uganda, Initially funded for two years by the Rockefeller Foundation. Hosted at the College of Computing and Information Sciences at Makerere University , the Centre is an extension of the global Microsoft Innovation network and is designed to promote the development of innovation and growth of the Ugandan software economy. The Innovation Centre provides access to PCs, software, desk space and mentoring, and supports both final year students, recent graduates, staff and external entrepreneurs. The facility focuses on skills development and aims to educate local students to help improve their professional IT knowledge and gain real project experience before graduating. In collaboration with the Ugandan Government, National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) and Makerere University , the Centre also helps developers and IT professionals learn about the latest technologies, stimulate technology innovation and drive the local software economy to boost national competitiveness. It provides assistance and resources to small and medium sized enterprises to create new and innovative products and services, bring those products to the market and increase their business competitiveness.