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Internet will get more affordable – ICT Minister assures Ugandans

ICT State Minister, Owek. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo (R) speaking to some of the exhibitors during the just concluded 2022 FinTech Landscape Exhibition

ICT State Minister, Owek. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo (R) speaking to some of the exhibitors during the just concluded 2022 FinTech Landscape Exhibition (PHOTO /Courtesy)

The 2022 FinTech Landscape Exhibition, a brainchild of HiPipo, ended last week with the Government of Uganda promising to further deepen Internet penetration, work towards reducing the cost of data and continuing to support innovations as these are key to the country’s transformation.

While presiding over the Fintech Landscape Exhibition, the ICT State Minister, Owek. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, noted that government is committed to deepening uptake of technology and bringing down the cost of data.

“We are working with partners towards seamless internet connectivity and affordability of internet data. For example, a gigabyte of data in 2011 was at UGX60,000, but now it costs UGX5,000. I can assure you it will get more affordable,” she said.

She added: “The digitization journey is a beautiful and longstanding one that has seen all of us transform as a nation from the times of wired telephones, the voice only enabled mobile devices to now micro hand banks that enable citizens to pay for bills, utilities, and other services in the comfort of their bedrooms, workstations or offices.”

The FinTech Landscape Exhibition was a culmination of the 2022 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative that ran in the months of June and July and shone a spotlight on 47 (forty-seven) financial technology players from East Africa with focus on Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. This annual project was organized by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop, Modusbox, and Crosslake Tech and supported by the Gates Foundation.

The companies that exhibited included True African, Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Limited, EzyAgric, Zofi Cash, Pivot Payments, Future Link Technologies, Kawu UG, Merchandize Uganda, Kuzimba Online and CardPesa among others.

Ms Ssebugwawo’s commitment followed several discussions on the state of Uganda and East Africa’s FinTech industry with a special focus on regulation, gender equality, cyber security, cloud computing, open APIs, and instant and inclusive payment systems.

Participants implored the government to institute industry-friendly regulations, close the gender divide and ensure robust cyber security.  They further asked the government to support open application programme interfaces (APIs) for building software and applications – allowing apps to send information between each other.

John Mark Ssebunnya, the General Manager – Technology Strategy and Architecture at MTN Group FinTech noted that open APIs make it easier for third parties to connect in a seamless, fast, and secure self-service manner and thus benefit all stakeholders.

Furthermore, Japhet ARITHO, the Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Limited managing director noted that FinTechs should, in fact must invest massively in training both their staff and the general public on how to curb cyber related crimes and protect their money.

Details of Panel Discussions and Speeches during the 2022 FinTech Landscape Exhibition were as follows:.

Keynote Speeches.

Open APIs speech by John Mark Ssebunnya – General Manager Technology Strategy and Architecture – MTN Group Fintech.

Cybersecurity: Trust and Confidence in DFS Usage speech by Japhet ARITHO – Managing Director -Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Limited (AMCUL).

Panel Discussions.

State of Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems.

Vincent Tumwijukye – Co-Founder & CEO at Future Link Technologies Ltd

Innocent Kawooya – HiPipo CEO

Steven Kirenga – Head of Products, Business Development, and Customer Experience at Cente Tech, Centenary Group.

Women, Youth Inclusion and Gender Equality.

Flavia Kasenge – Ezeemoney Chief Operations Officer.

Sharon Namugerwa – Belle Beauty Founder and CEO.

Mercy Angela Nantongo – EzyAgric Product Manager.

Steven Kakooza – Kawu Uganda Co-Founder and CEO.

Cloud computing and DFSPs.

Joseph Abdi – Founder and CEO of Jpesa and Jolis International.

Peter Kakoma – Founder and CEO of Kanzu Code.

Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi – Co-Founder and Instructor at Club Tangaza.

David Egwell – NOC Manager at Raxio Data Centre. NOC means Network Operations Center.

Enabling Regulation for Digital Financial Services.

Ivan Ojakol – Tech Lawyer and Lecturer.

Emmanuel Mugabi – NITA U Manager NITA-U Manager Governance and Risk.

James Mukasa – Founder and CEO of Money Sent; a fast-growing local FinTech start-up.

Brian Kalule – the FITSPA Company Secretary.

FITSPA is the Financial Technologies Service Providers Association with more than 50 members.

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