Digital Industry could foster economic growth in Uganda

June 23, 2013

Uganda finance minister Maria Kiwanuka recently unveiled the country’s financial budget for the year ending June 2014. Most notable was her allocation towards the expansion of broadband services in unconnected hinterlands. That was a welcome move because Uganda needs to pay special attention to the digital world in order to better its economy and GDP that currently stand at $19.5billion. Minister Kiwanuka stressed on Uganda ameliorating its economy in the future and that is music to the years of digital industry players. Latest data shows that digital advertisements in Uganda account for only 8% to 12% of the total advertisements. It is important for the country to make good use of the digital world to seep into a greater consumer base especially the growing middle class. Over the past three years, Ugandan government has been encouraging the development of the country’s digital industry through workshops and exhibitions. For the digital industry to thrive and absorb thousands of jobless Ugandans, the key players in the sector should work harder and more efficiently and have the courage to accept failures that could be a part of the digital business.

Currently, Uganda has 4.5 million active Internet users according to the latest statistics from Uganda Communication Commission, and by 2016, it is expected to rise to about 25 million. Although that figure is insufficient, Uganda must rise further in the digital industry to the levels of their neighboring countries Kenya and Tanzania. There are lots of opportunities for digital businesses to grow in Uganda due to the potential economic growth in the country and the fast growing middle class that turned the country to one of the fastest growing economies in sub Saharan Africa. What lacks in Uganda is the start-up mentality to be successful which has made Kenyans and South Africans prosper in digital industries through a mix of young entrepreneurs, mid level managers, tech enthusiasts and university students. Firms in Uganda must strive to reach their full potential. Having worked or visited 13 African countries, I can say Uganda is the most socially adaptive country in Africa and has the most hospitable population anywhere I know in this world. My advise to Uganda entrepreneurs is for them to be passionate with whatever work they are doing and also that includes companies they are running in order to ensure high success rates which will be abundantly beneficial to the whole country and future generations.

Contador Harrison