By Lillian Nalwoga
The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern (CIPESA) in conjunction with the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) and Hive Colab organised the 4th Uganda Internet Governance Forum (IGF) under the theme “Harnessing Internet Development. The forum was held on August 10, 2011 at Hive Colab premises in Kampala, brought together over 50 ICT enthusiasts.
The Uganda IGF is a multi-stakeholder forum open to representatives from Government, NGOs, academia, private sector, as well as any other entities and individuals interested in Internet Governance issues.
Key issues discussed st the 4th Uganda IGF included cyber security management; thepower of social media in citizen empowerment; importance of cloud computing in promoting e-commerce in Uganda,; adopting the best model of internet for Uganda and the management of Uganda’s Critical Internet Resources.
In his opening remarks, James Saaka, the Executive Director of the National Information and Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) said that Phase one of the District Business Information Centres had been complemented while Phase Two was underway.
Saaka also said that Phase one of the National Backbone Infrastructure/E-Government Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) project had been completed. Phase Two was scheduled for completion this year September and would involve the laying of 1,477 KM of additional Optical Fibre Cable in the districts of Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Nimule, Masindi, Hoima, Kyenjojo, Fort Portal, Kasese, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Nakasongola and Luwero. A map detailing the project coverage will soon be available on the NITA-U website. He further welcomed feedback from stakeholders, noting that a repository about government ICT projects was being developed and would be made accessible to the public in due course.
Participants discussed the Ugandan cyber laws which the President assented to six months ago. These included the Electronic Transactions Act, the Electronic Signatures Act and the Computer Misuse Act. Copies of these laws are now available for purchase from major bookshops. However, only the Computer Misuse Law is operational while regulations for the others have not yet been developed. Nevertheless, participants called for massive awareness creation for these laws as many citizens were not aware about their existence and their implications.
Meanwhile, Gloria Katuku, an official of the ICT Ministry, highlighted key strategies under development, which she said included the National Information Security Strategy to be implemented by NITA-U; the IPv6 strategy, awaiting approval from the ICT Minister and the Dot Ug ccTLD Management strategy, which is available on the Ministry Website www.ict.go.ug for comments.
Participants called for the adoption of new ICT tools for communicating and engaging with the government on national matters. They called for the adoption of an internet model that was free and open for all to access. This includes embracing the power of mobile internet hence the need for government to increase mobile penetration by lowering Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of mobile phones. Measures such as removal of import duties and Value added Tax (VAT) on mobile devices should also be considered by government, they said.
The outcomes of the 4th Uganda IGF will be presented at the regional East African IGF due to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on August 17 –18, 2011.
Presentations made at the Forum can be downloaded here: