Benefits of partnership between NITA Uganda and Korea’s NIPA

August 22, 2013

The plan by National Information and Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U) and South Korean National Information Technology Promotion Agency (NIPA) to undertake a feasibility study in order to establish implementation of Disaster Recovery Site, Government Integrated Data Center, and Shared Services and Public Key Infrastructure would go along way in positioning Uganda as key ICT hub in sub Saharan Africa. According to the plan, the infrastructures will go a long way to facilitate access of online transactions and this latest initiative is part of NITA strategic plans of providing a well managed, and regulated IT infrastructure and services as well as securing information within the government of Uganda. The outcome of the study will enable Ugandan government to establish a quality and reliable National Data Centre and Disaster Recovery Centre where shared services will be hosted. If all plans go through, the Public Key Infrastructure will help support the management of secure electronic transactions.

There are expectations that once the proposed plans are in place, appropriate models for IT systems used in Uganda public sector will put in place. It will also mean the country will have one of the best e-government applications and usage of open source for national projects. If Uganda government choses open source solutions when it embarks on a journey to consolidate its IT assets, while making their data centres cloud-ready, open source technology could offers choice and avoids vendor lock-in that has long been a thorn in the flesh in many African countries. My experience shows that open source addresses key concerns that keep governments from reaping the full benefits of cloud. The value of open source for Ugandan government are enormous because open source is based on common platforms and the government agencies will have the flexibility of switching vendors without changing the underlying technology. Me think things have to be done by particular vendors and if the Ugandan government would want to change, it will have to change the entire stack. I think NITA Uganda would also need to get public agencies out of the common thinking and understanding about common platforms and code reuse and redevelopment.

This would mean that with open source, Ugandan government would be able to have the ability to move more quickly, innovate faster and with minimal constraints from either budget allocation or vendor choices. If fully embraced, there will be an increase in return on investment and it could totally eliminate waste and duplication, and improve the effectiveness of IT solutions. It is not a surprise to me that the public sector was singled out by NITA Uganda and NIPA partnership, especially as Ugandan government is striving to adopt practices that have a high degree of accountability. That is why I personally think that the benefits of open source are too compelling to ignore. Given the immense value of open source in driving greater IT cost-efficiency and agility, coupled with NITA Uganda desire to continuously improve, I expect that it will not take long before open source becomes mainstream in government agencies in Uganda. In my opinion, Open source is among the best platforms that can enable government agencies to not only maximize taxpayers’ money, but it also help maintain agility and continue introducing innovative e-services to Ugandans. Me think that by embracing open source in government could result in transformation of services delivery in Uganda.

Contador Harrison