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More effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by government and other stakeholders to support micro and small enterprises (MSEs) will help accelerate job creation, the growth of business and women entrepreneurs, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development launched at the College of Computing and Information Sciences, Makerere University on 19th October, 2011, reveals that the ICT dimension is frequently absent from Private Sector strategies, neither policymakers nor MSE owners in developing countries are harnessing these new possibilities to the fullest and inadequate programmes and policy attention has been given to the application of ICT tools to support women entrepreneurs.

It calls for governments and other institutions to apply ICTs to make Private Sector Development (PSD) interventions more effective in business environment reforms by providing business development, market information and financial services to MSEs.

To be successful, ICT-PSD solutions need to factor in both user needs (in terms of what information and other inputs are needed) and possible constraints (literacy rates, aversion to using new tools, scarce electricity and unaffordable user charges and prices). Involving the private sector in the design and provision of training and advisory services can help ensure that the services are truly demand-driven.

The report calls for the inclusion of ICT modules in business skills training programmes, better leveraging of ICTs in support women entrepreneurship, harnessing mobile money services to make financial markets more inclusive, using ICT tools to reduce the costs of business transactions and to help MSEs bring their goods and services to domestic and international markets. Other recommendations include the need to adopt regulatory frameworks to build confidence in the use of new technologies or new applications of a known technology and developing donor guidelines to ensure that the ICT potential is fully reflected in their PSD strategies.

According to the report, Uganda has embraced its ICT policy and the use of various ICT services to support MSEs and grassroots development. 
Speaking during the launch, Mr. Julius Peter Torach, from the National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) said the recent launch of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure/National Electronic Government would aid the private sector development through the through provision of high speed Internet access to facilitate a number of IT enabled services such as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

€œThe National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure comes along with the deployment of  a shared network services such as video conferencing, unified messaging and collaboration services, internet calling (Voice over Internet Protocol € VoIP), which are being piloted in selected Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),€ he added.


The power of the phone

Written by Thursday, 20 October 2011 15:19 Published in News Details comment

Cellphones have triggered a wave of technological innovation in the developing world. The cellphone has revolutionized life in the western world. Now thanks to plummeting hardware prices and homegrown innovation, the developing world is poised to reap the benefits of this game changing technology read more


Mozilla Firefox now in Luganda

Written by Friday, 30 September 2011 11:27 Published in News Details comment

Mozilla Firefox, one of the internet web-browsers, has been translated into Luganda. This means that more people can now use the internet in this local language. Luganda is one of the widely used local languages across Uganda€„¢s central region. Speaking at the launch on 29th Oct. 2011 in Kampala, the Prime Minister of Buganda Kingdom, Eng. JB Walusimbi pledged the Kingdom€„¢s support towards similar initiatives.

€œThis translation is a contribution towards national development. Businesses are now online and if we are to join in, it is better to do so in a language we understand best. I request you to develop user-friendly terms and I call upon Luganda users to get involved by sharing views or asking questions on this interface. As a kingdom, we shall partner with you,€ he said.

Some of the words one is likely to come across include ebikozeesebwa (tools), wagulu (up), wansi (down) and obuyambi (help). The translation, spearheaded by Avant Garde Solutions, brought on board a number of partners including Makerere University€„¢s School of Computing and IT, CIT, Makerere€„¢s Institute of Languages, African Localisation Network and the International Development Research Centre among others.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Jude Lubega the Head of IT department at CIT congratulated the team for its endurance and urged them to embrace bigger tasks. €œI am challenging you to localize open office. It is virus free and open source. This is the way to go,€„¢Ã¢‚¬„¢ he emphasized.
Other programmes that have been translated into Luganda include VLC Media player, Virtaal for language, AbiWord, Pootle, and TuxPaint.

The Director of Avant Garde solutions, San James Olweny, called upon good Luganda writers to join hands in availing and developing content. Over seventy languages have been translated across East Africa, making the web more accessible. The team is now translating Mozilla firefox into Acholi. Localisation of languages has been embraced by many of the developed nations, but it is yet to receive the recognition it deserves in Africa, as a fast tool for development.


Makerere University 2011/2012 Semester Dates

Written by Thursday, 29 September 2011 09:54 Published in News Details comment

Semester One: Sunday 25th September 2011 to Saturday 14th January, 2012 (16 weeks)
Semester One Vacation: Saturday 14th January, 2012 to 28th January, 2012
62nd Graduation: Monday 16th to Friday 20th January, 2012
Semester Two: Saturday 28th January,  2012 to Saturday 26th May, 2012 (17 weeks)
Semester Two Vacation: Saturday 26th May,2012 to Saturday 18th August, 2012
Recess Term: Saturday 26th May, 2012 to Saturday 4th August, 2012 (10 weeks)
1.The First Semester duration shall be 16 weeks: ( Teaching shall be 14 weeks and the last two weeks shall be for examinations)
2.The First Semester Examinations shall begin on 2nd January 2012 and end on Saturday 14th January 2012.
3.There shall be no usual two weeks of Christmas break. Teaching shall be conducted during this period with residential break from 25th to 26th December 2011 and 1st January 2012.
4.The Graduation dates shall be as planned above.
5.The First Semester vacation shall be for two weeks.
6.The Second Semester and Recess term of 2011/2012 shall remain as planned.
Approved by the Makerere University Senate on Wednesday 28th September 2011.


CoCIS holds 7th ICCIR

Written by Monday, 08 August 2011 15:20 Published in News Details comment

The CoCIS held its 7th annual International Conference on Computing and ICT Research, ICCIR, on the 7th € 9th Augusts 2011 in Kampala. The conference was held under the theme €˜Strengthening the role of ICT in Development,€„¢ and brought together researchers the world over to share knowledge on research breakthroughs.

In his remarks during the conference, the ICT Minister Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, congratulated the College for its consistence in holding the annual conference. He urged public universities to take advantage of the available avenues to disseminate their research findings. The Minister pledged continued government funding towards viable student research projects. Prof. Ikoja Odongo, the College Principal encouraged the participants to ensure that their findings are implemented in initiatives that will transform society. €œThis Conference gives us the opportunity to reflect on the progress we are making as a University and the country at large in terms of contributing to the development of ICT research and infrastructure in our nation,€„¢Ã¢‚¬„¢ he added.

The CIT Dean, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya explained that CIT is expanding its research capacity and has harmonized the initially six research groups to four basing on their areas of synergy and comparative advantage. These include Software and Enterprise Engineering, Networks and Systems Security, Artificial Intelligence and Development Informatics. A similar conference will be held on 5th € 7th August 2012, with participants from the East Africa School of Library and Information Sciences (EASLIS).


CoCIS students graduate

Written by Monday, 08 August 2011 14:56 Published in News Details comment

On 22nd July 2011, Makerere University held a special graduation ceremony, in which 1190 students graduated. 100 of these students were from CoCIS with one PHD in Information Systems. In his remarks, the College Principal, Prof. Ikoja Odongo, congratulated the graduates and encouraged continuing students to strive towards completion. The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, thanked the organizing committee for the efforts in making the 22nd graduation a successful.


CWG to reward best Computer Science student

Written by Monday, 08 August 2011 14:48 Published in News Details comment

The best Computer Science student will receive a High End Dell Laptop from Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), a new IT firm in Uganda. Michael Manzi, the CWG Country Director, said rewarding academic excellence in Computer Science is the beginning of a partnership between the company and the College, more specifically the School of Computing and Informatics Technology. The award will be given out annually and the best student is also offered an opportunity to work with the company for a year. This will expose the student to real life situations and challenges in information technology and equip them with skills needed to be competitive in the computing and software development sectors. CWG hopes to engage in more collaborations with the College in future.

The College€„¢s Head of Corporate Relations, Michael Niyitegeka, described the partnership with CWG as an affirmation that industry players recognize the good quality of teaching offered at the university. €œIncreasingly, more people are coming on board to support the university and create incentives that encourage students to work harder and aspire for more success. We shall continue to partner with more institutions that empower students,€ he said.


The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world€„¢s premier student technology competition. It provides an opportunity for students to use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to help solve global challenges and make a difference in the world. While competing for cash and prizes, students gain real-life experiences, make new friends, and change the world.

Uganda got the opportunity to represent East and Southern Africa at the world wide event in New York City (July 7th to 14th 2011). Team Quest0 from Makerere University featured a unique tool for law enforcement performs intelligent crime data mining in developing countries. The team€„¢s philosophy was that the rule of law in society is a pre-requisite to achieving the MDGs.

I got the opportunity to mentor Joseph Lutaalo and Joshua Kaizzi of Quest0. As a past competitor, I was in position to guide and direct them accordingly. The mentor€„¢s role at the Imagine Cup is purely advisor, a Counselor - no matter what you call it; but it is about ensuring that the students work together efficiently as a team. I stuck with the team at every stage providing financial, technical and any other assistance required.

In the past, mentoring was a very uncommon thing for African teams with would be mentors being so pre-occupied with their day jobs and faculty members not showing much interest in the competition. There€„¢s need to generate a lot more interest in the Imagine Cup as a way of promoting the programming culture in students. The Imagine Cup is an annual competition that€„¢s open to both Undergraduates and Postgraduates.

I challenge all students reading this to stand up to the challenge and solve the world€„¢s toughest problems. Sign up for Imagine Cup 2012 today!
Joseph Kaizzi | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Rockefeller Vice-President applauds CoCIS

Written by Wednesday, 13 July 2011 09:58 Published in News Details comment

The Vice-President of Rockefeller Foundation, Heather Grady has applauded the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) for engaging in research aimed at enabling communities cope with the effects of climate change. Grady, who was speaking during her visit to the College on 1st July 2011, also applauded the College for exploring ways of availing locals with developmental information through mobile phones, whose usage is on the increase in Africa.
€œRockefeller Foundation will continue to partner with several institutions to bolster research and training capacity aimed at building climate change resilience programs and capacities,€ she said. Grady toured the National Software Incubation Centre, which was opened up at the College in 2008 with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. The centre has helped increase human resource capacity in the field of software engineering and development.
Speaking at the same function, the CoCIS Principal, Prof. Ikoja Odongo, thanked Rockefeller Foundation for its support and pledged the College€„¢s readiness to strengthen its partnership with the Foundation.


Orange launches African Social Venture Awards

Written by Wednesday, 13 July 2011 09:52 Published in News Details comment

Orange has launched the African Social Venture Prize. This prize, aimed at promoting social business projects largely focusing on ICTs and innovation will reward three projects addressing needs of the €˜bottom of pyramid€„¢ market in Africa through technology. The projects of interest range from e-health and mobile banking to digital and mobile applications for education or agriculture. 
The winners will get a financial grant along with an opportunity to be mentored by management, ICT and entrepreneurship experts. Participation in this competition is open to students, academic staff and entrepreneurs. The application deadline is September 15, 2011. For more details about the prize and application form please visit: http://www.starafrica.com/en/news/orange-african-social-venture-prize/the-challenge.html



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