The Ugandan government has identified Information Technology Enabled Services–Business Process Outsourcing (ITES-BPO) as one of the key sectors to enhance economic growth and reduce youth unemployment in the country. The overall vision of the Ugandan government is to transform the country into a ‘Knowledge-Based Uganda’ where national development and good governance are sustainably enhanced and accelerated by timely and secure access to Information and efficient application of ICT. It recognizes the fact that the growth of ITES-BPO sector has a multiplier effect on the economy of the country, leading to higher investments, increased job creation and improvement in quality of life.
The government of Uganda established the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) in order to strengthen efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public service through the use of Information Technology.
NITAU’s cardinal Vision is “To make Uganda an internationally competitive and vibrant ITES-BPO destination.”
In pursuance of the above vision the Authority is will:
- Coordinate, supervise and monitor the utilization of Information Technology in the public and private sectors
- Identify and advise Government on all matters of Information Technology Development, utilization and deployment
- Set, monitor, and regulate standards for information technology planning, acquisition, implementation, delivery, support, organization, sustenance, disposal, risk management, data protection, security, and contingency planning
- Regulate and enforce standards for Information Technology hardware and software equipment procurement in all Government Ministries, Departments, and agencies
- Provide first-level Technical support and advice for critical Government Information Technology Systems
To develop Uganda’s ITES-BPO capability, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MoICT) & Think Tank Team (TTT) led the development of a BPO strategy and model for the period of 2008 to 2011.
In 2012, National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) reviewed and updated the strategy in light of global and regional developments in the industry.
With a natural flair for the English language and one of the most advantageous demographics globally, Uganda has the capability to be one of the most competitive and niche ITES-BPO destinations. The formation of focused organizations like NITA-U, incentivizing ITES-BPO companies and recognition of the ITES-BPO sector as one of the prime levers of job creation, steps in the right direction. However, to compete effectively, it has to reduce its infrastructure costs significantly and enhance infrastructure reliability. It will have to supplement the employability of its youth by providing industry-aligned training. Finally, incentives and supporting structures will have to be extended to facilitate industry growth.
To develop its capability internationally, it will have to target small and medium businesses regionally and globally and collaborate with more mature destinations like India. Implementing the strategy will require a coordinated effort from various stakeholders in the Uganda ITES-BPO industry and planned investment in capacity building and industry promotion initiatives.