The Minister of ICT and National Guidance Judith Nabakooba pointed out some of the key initiatives the government of Uganda can adopt to accelerate women participation in the digital economy.
According to the minister, Uganda needs to develop and implement strategies that promote the access and usage of ICTs by women. In the ICT sector, she said, there is a need to implement interventions that remove roadblocks to access and usage of ICTs by women such as reducing the digital divide between urban and rural dwellers by availing ICTs to the underserved communities and promoting the digital literacy of women so that more can use ICTs.
According to minister Nabakooba, the benefits from the use of ICTs can be maximized after becoming cognizant of the dangers and risks brought about by digitization that include cybercrimes such as identity theft, online bullying which sometimes culminate into rape, kidnap or even murder.
Against the backdrop, she called on people involved in the sector to promote responsible and safe usage of ICTs so that we avoid these risks and dangers.
“There is need for continued engagement and collaboration among the elite women in the ICT space so as to consolidate our achievements so far while at the same strategizing to leave nobody,” she said. “Therefore, each one of you has a critical role to play in empowering fellow women to access and use ICTs for their betterment.”
The minister was Friday supposed to speak at the Hipipo Women in Fintech Summit held at Sheraton Hotel but her speech was read by Judith Odoi, the ministry's assistant commissioner for Human Resource.
The ministry she heads was introduced by President Yoweri Museveni in 2006 to provide strategic and technical leadership, overall coordination, support and advocacy on all matters of policy, laws, regulations and strategy for the ICT sector.
Some of the things the ministry has done include creating a conducive legal and regulatory environment, with legal and policy instruments like the Data Protection and Privacy Act (2019), which is aimed at regulating the collection and processing of personal information and the Computer Misuse Act (2011), which is aimed at the safe use of ICTs and the e-transactions Act (2011) aimed at protecting online transactions among others.
The Ministry has also worked with its agencies and other government entities to establish the Sauti 166 toll-free helpline which provides a much-needed avenue for children to speak up and report violence being perpetrated against them.
“The facility has counselors and caseworkers working fulltime to receiving calls that come from children especially the Girl Child and providing them with guidance and counseling,” she said.
The ministry also rolled out the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP) to support the creation of an Innovation ecosystem and marketplace for local ICT products. Over 40% of the grants doled out have been to women innovators or majority women-led organizations.