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UCC says Uganda’s digital transformation hampered by low uptake of smartphones

Kampala, (UG):- Uganda’s low uptake and penetration of smartphones in the country is affecting the digital transformation agenda according to the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), Executive Director Mr Nyombi Thembo.

Mr Nyombi was Tuesday speaking at the launch of the official preparations of the 2024 Global Symposium for Regulators 2024 (GSR-24) where he revealed that current figures indicate that only 22% of Ugandans own smartphones, which makes it very difficult to fully drive the country into the digital agenda.

According to Mr Nyombi, there are even still challenges relating to those who own smartphones, although data uptake is going up with 36 million sim cards reported to be in active usage as of 2023.

The ICT Ministry in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last year launched the Digital Transformation Roadmap which aims at strengthening the implementation of enabling policies and laws to accelerate Uganda’s Digital Revolution.

The roadmap also aims to provide an overarching implementation framework for a well-connected Uganda that delivers on the opportunities presented by various technologies.

“Our decision to host this symposium goes beyond mere ceremony but underscores our commitment to the work of the International Telecommunication Union where we are a member,” Mr Nyombi said.

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The State Minister for National Guidance Mr Godfrey Kabbyanga said the government is increasing funding in the ICT sector to ensure an increase in connectivity to be able to drive growth.

“The government commitment via digital transformation program and commitment to ensure the independence of an ICT regulator is crucial in driving progress in Uganda’s ICT sector. Uganda is globally known for hospitality,” he said.

The Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) is an annual event organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that brings together the world’s telecommunication and information communication technology regulators, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to share experiences, exchange ideas, and collaborate on the best regulatory practices and policies.

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The GSR-24 will be hosted in Uganda between July 1 and 4 and will attract over 700 players in the ICT sector including; policymakers, regulators, representatives from industry, academia, and international and regional organizations in the field of digital development.

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