Dutch funding of US$ 1 million to boost Uganda’s IT & ITES services exports
(Geneva/Kampala) A US$ 1 million project to boost exports of Uganda’s information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITES) was launched in Kampala on 5 February.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) will provide technical expertise for the Dutch-funded three-year project to help Uganda to increase its exports and diversify markets to capitalize on the US$ 180 billion global IT and ITES outsourcing market.
Phase three of the Netherlands Trust Fund project (NTF III) will provide support to 30 Ugandan companies, with special attention being paid to women-owned businesses. ITC will collaborate with three local partners: the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITAU), ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) and the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Association (UBPOA).
‘In Uganda, we observe strong political support behind the IT and ITES sector becoming apparent, for example, in tax incentives,’ said NITAU’s Managing Director James Saaka, who added that the sector benefits from a large, young dynamic English-speaking labour pool. ‘The NTF III project comes at a time when Uganda as a country has identified IT as one of its national priority areas to propel the country’s economy to a globally competitive level.’
Rogers Karebi, Secretary of UBPOA, said: ‘The Ugandan outsourcing industry in general and UBPOA in particular are very excited about the NTF project. We are convinced that this project will contribute towards accelerating our association’s vision of Uganda climbing towards the top 10 outsourcing destinations in Africa.’
‘ITC is eager to support Uganda’s ambitions in relation to the IT and BPO industry,’ said Anders Aeroe, ITC’s Director for Market Development. ‘This project will build the capacity of enterprises to export, while also strengthening trade support institutions in a way that makes the intervention sustainable over the long term.’
Rob van Eijbergen, a member of the NTF III Steering Group, emphasized the importance of the IT and ITES sector for the development of the Ugandan economy. ‘We can contribute to creating jobs for knowledge workers by developing exports and improving the enabling environment,’ he said. ‘We have been really pleased by the support and cooperation of our Ugandan counterparts.’
The NTF III Uganda IT & ITES Export Competitiveness project will be implemented in an integrated manner with complementary activities by the Netherlands’ Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) and with the active engagement of the Netherlands Embassy in Kampala, which is also supporting national development initiatives in the IT& ITES sector.
Present at the launch were officials from Uganda’s Ministry of ICT; Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives; the Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy department; Private Sector Foundation Uganda; Uganda Export Promotion Board; Uganda Investment Authority; Uganda National Bureau of Standards; Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and the Netherlands Embassy in Kampala .
The launch of the NTF III project in Uganda follows a similar launch in Nairobi, Kenya, on 3 February 2015, worth US$ 1.2 million, which will assist 33 Kenyan IT and ITES firms.