Speeches and Presentations

Key note address by Executive Director, UCC at the capacity Africa 2016, held in Kampala on 27th September 2016

Friday, 30th September 2016 | Kampala, Uganda

Our Guest of Honour, Minister of ICT and National Guidance,
The Conference organizers
Distinguished speakers and participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I take this opportunity to welcome you most heartedly to Uganda. On behalf of Uganda Communications Commission, I would like to wish you a fruitful discussion over the two days that you will be here in Kampala.

I will now go straight to my address

ICTs are playing a critical role in the transformation of societies world-wide. This has enabled rapid changes in people's lives, in the way industries are growing and in the way businesses are operating. This has all been made possible particularly by the mobile revolution and broadband services.

ICTs are driving the transformation of developing countries enabling them to achieve key development milestones. Uganda has been no exception. Our ICT sector is one of the most vibrant and dynamic in the region. This vibrancy is hinged on a good legal and regulatory framework complemented by a supportive investment climate. The development of the ICT Sector is evidenced in; tremendous growth in the telecommunications sub sector, with significant expansion in the use of mobile, fixed telephony, voice and data services, among others. Integration of ICTs in other sectors e,g, education, health, finance, etc has also increased with immense benefits associated with increased efficiency and reduced costs of service delivery.

In this change, businesses are becoming more digitized, people are becoming more connected and new business models are emerging as a result of innovation.

According to the OECD, "more ubiquitous access to and use of broadband Internet networks, which are available in a competitive market and at affordable prices, will help foster innovation and drive the growth of the Internet Economy and the economy in general." To achieve this, ICT needs to be combined with innovative policies, services and solutions to deliver transformation at a quicker pace.

Key to this is bridging the digital divide particularly in developing countries. There is need to extend broadband connectivity to the unserved and underserved. In Africa, the mobile revolution has greatly contributed to bridging this gap. Various interventions have been put in place by the respective governments with great success. Public Private Partnerships and the integration of innovative approaches to connectivity have also enabled great achievements in connecting new users. However, a lot still needs to be done to ensure that we achieve ubiquitous connectivity.

I am happy to note that new advances in satellite technology are playing a key role in helping to deliver broadband in rural and isolated areas (even in developed countries). Satellites have the advantage of huge reach over massive areas, enabling relatively cost-effective connection of many subscribers, and faster roll-out than a network of point-to-point connections. They can also help overcome problems of difficult terrain in hard-to-connect regions, such as mountainous areas.

What does the future hold?
The Broadband Report for 2016 predicts that the mobile market will continue to grow, but at a slower pace. The GSMA Intelligence forecasts that by 2020, there will be 5.6 billion unique mobile subscribers globally – more than the number of people with electricity at home, bank accounts or running water. It is further predicted that the vast majority of new subscriber additions will come from developing markets.

The 'Internet of Things' (IoT) is growing fast, with Deloitte predicting that one billion IoT devices will be shipped in 2015, up 60% on 2014 figures. ITU forecasts 25 billion networked devices by 2020 – meaning connected devices could outnumber connected people by 6:1.
This growth is largely driven by the following;

  • Increased infrastructure deployments through innovative ways with the aim of addressing the growing customer demand for high-speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services,
  • Increased roll out of 4G services due to its capability to deliver high quality services,
  • Increased demand for content including interactive services

What do we have to do as stakeholders?
Each of us here has a critical role to play in the advancement of the ICT sector and growth of broadband services. I will mention just a few.

  • Governments need to partner with the industry to invest in and roll out the right ICT infrastructure that can provide strong and resilient broadband infrastructure required by smart, connected devices
  • There is need to maintain efficient allocation of spectrum to meet the growing demand to support connectivity and delivery of new and innovative services
  • We all have a role to play in ensuring that making broadband services are affordable,
  • Promote security in a hyper connected environment
  • Ensure that the policy, legal and regulatory instruments are in tandem with the industry and technological advancements.

Other opportunities continue to exist for the growth of communications services in. These areas include among others;

  • Provision of broadband services, particularly last mile
  • Cloud computing
  • Business Process Outsourcing and IT Enabled Services
  • E-Commerce and B2B solutions
  • Data Warehousing and Data Management services
  • E-government Services
  • Digital Financial Services

In conclusion, I hope the issues I have raised here will stimulate the debate on the various topics. I am confident that the panel assembled in different issues will digest further these issues. I therefore look forward to a rich and informative report on the conference. Thank you for your attention