By: Ismael Kasooha
The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) task force has completed its work and handed over the Strategy report to the Prime Minister for action.
The mission of the strategy is “To transform and accelerate Uganda’s development into an innovative, productive and competitive society using 4IR technologies by 2040”.
While receiving the strategy report at the office of the president conference hall, the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Nabbanja Robinah thanked the National Task Force for the great work and commitment towards the completion of this assignment amidst the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I also appreciate the support our partners provide in Uganda’s digital transformation journey. In our world today, information and communication technologies are critical to the effective deployment and growth of enterprises in agriculture, health, education, mineral exploration, banking, insurance, provision of security, and socio-economic empowerment of our citizens,” said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja said that Uganda is blessed with nearly 1,200 square kilometers of arable land.
“70% of our people are in one way or another employed in the agricultural sector. Indeed, our President, H.E. Yoweri Museveni has identified Agriculture, Industry, Services, and ICTs as the four pillars on which our continued match-to-wealth creation is anchored,” said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja said that 4IR represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work, and relate with one another. It also represents a fundamental way on how we do business.
“It is an opportunity for our farmers to better manage their planting, monitor their herds, and market their products without the inconvenience of having to deal with extortionist middlemen,” noted Nabbanja.
She said that beyond agriculture, this Fourth Industrial Revolution has exciting applications in how we combat disease.
“4IR is transforming the methods of treatment and diagnosis, the relationship between health professionals and patients as well as altering the management and organization of health systems,” she added.
Nabbanja explained that in the field of education, as we learned from the unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19, e-learning is now an indispensable tool in our education spaces. Therefore, going forward, 4IR is re-augmenting how teachers prepare for lessons, how they relate with all students, and subsequently how they transfer vital knowledge to society.
Nabbanja said therefore, the Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a new and exciting chapter in our human history. It is a new “Fire” in our nearly two and a half million years journey on our blue planet.
“The fact that the coordination mechanism of the National Strategy on 4IR shall be based within the confines of the Office of the Prime Minister, feels me with optimism that together, we will be able to realize the aspirations that the Fourth Industrial Revolution promises for our people. It is, as H.E. President Museveni has stated on several occasions, an indispensable pillar of wealth creation,” said noted.
Investment in ICTs is now a global contributor to social-economic development. Known to us, Elon Musk now joins a growing list of wealthy billionaires heavily invested in the Technology sector after his acquisition of Twitter. In fact, according to Forbes, 4 of the top 5 richest individuals in the world are in the Technology sector.
“In my view, the Task Force has put to our disposal their knowledge treasure trove on 4IR. Perhaps, leveraging this trove can create the next Elon Musk or even the next Dr. Ben Carson. I remain convinced that Africa in general and Uganda in particular will not miss the bus of history as we did when Mr. George Stephenson invented his steam engine in 1829,” Nabbanja explained.
She said that the Government of Uganda is committed to studying this strategy, formalizing it, and officially launching it.
Nabbanja implored all stakeholders to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution in solving our Country’s development challenges, as well as harnessing its opportunities for growth, competitiveness, and human development.
Engineer John Nasasira, the chairman of 4IR National Taskforce said that they are optimistic that the country will now catch up with the other parts of the world in technological advancement.
He said that in 1760-1840-steam engine revolution, Uganda was left behind and even in the 2nd revolution of 1900-20th century advent of electricity plus the 3rd industrial revolution 1960s of computing world but it is now coping up with the 3rd revolution.
Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance said that Uganda still has to catch up with the 3rd revolution.
“Africa has continued to lag behind in the revolutions, the purpose of the task force was to ensure that the country also catches up with the industrial revolution. He said that 5G is now helping in mining without sending human beings underground.
He said that the President is right to prioritize science so that they are motivated and we become part of the advancement in the revolution.
Baryomunsi promised to put into action the proposals put in place by the task force to ensure they are realized.
“We shall work with the PM to generate a cabinet paper for implementation and the 4IR is a reality,” said Baryomunsi.