Uganda remained at the 110th position out of the 144 countries in the Global Information Technology Report 2013.
The Networked Readiness Index, calculated by the World Economic Forum, and INSEAD, ranks 144 economies based on:
their capacity to exploit the opportunities offered by the digital age. This capacity is determined by the quality of the regulatory, business and innovation environments, the degree of preparedness, the actual usage of ICTs, as well as the societal and economic impacts of ICTs. The assessment is based on a broad range of indicators from Internet access and adult literacy to mobile phone subscriptions and the availability of venture capital. In addition, indicators such as patent applications and e-government services gauge the social and economic impact of digitization.
The Global Information Technology Report also shows that digitization has a measurable effect on economic growth and job creation.
Uganda’s worst indicators came from measure of ICT skills under readiness at 125, usage of ICTs at individual level and the economic impact of ICTs in Uganda was t 112. Also we still lag behind in ICT impact on social life. So the next time you see our high figures of youth unemployment you know which area is not yet taken seriously. The 2008 World Bank report put Uganda as a country with the youngest population in the world. Youth unemployment in the country is estimated at 83%.
And also that poor statistic on the business and innovation environment, which the report found us at 115 is worrying. Businesses in Uganda are slow to take on ICTs and later alone support innovation.
Top countries in Africa harnessing digitization for economic opportunities were Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles Egypt, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana and Botswana.
Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa still suffer from a serious lag despite infrastructure improvements, an expansion of coverage and a push into e-government. Weaknesses in the political and regulatory environment, the existence of large segments of the population with a low skills base and poor development of the innovation system are all factors hindering Latin America’s technological potential. In sub-Saharan Africa, costly access to technology, a low skills base and unfavourable business conditions are among the chief obstacles.
Can Digitization Kick-Start Growth? This was major question highlighted in the report.
An analysis by Booz & Company has found that ICT could help lift millions out of poverty. Using a Digitization Index that ranks countries on a scale from zero to 100, Booz & Company found that an increase of 10% in a country’s digitization score fuels a 0.75% growth in its GDP per capita. That same 10% boost in digitization leads to a 1.02% drop in a state’s unemployment rate.
We don’t have to wait for next year’s index comes to ask our ICT minister where all the money goes. But then we must not forget that in the 2012/13 budget Uganda allocated US$ 6.4 million for ICT sector, though it was the the highest made in last three years it represented a mere 0.13% of the budget.
As long as the big part of our budget like (200 billion) for supplementary budget is going to State House to partly buy Museveni and his family new chairs and also entertainment them, we are never going to digitize. But how do we digitize when we still have millions of shilling allocated to photocopying in Museveni’s State House?