UGANDA 🇺🇬 : Let’s talk technology 💻

On election day (2/18/2016), access to social media sites like Faceboook, Twitter et al were disabled. Reports indicate that this was done as a security measure . Telecom service providers were directed by the “independent” regulator Uganda Communications Commission ,an equivalent of the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to disable access to all the social media services. One is left to wonder what kind of security measure would necessitate the shutdown of the internet access or social media sites which otherwise would be used to disseminate critical safety and incident awareness information to the masses.

A telecom info message to the general public

Nevertheless, the technologically-adept managed to by pass the internet censorship using Virtual Private Networks(VPN) like Free VPN Proxy by Betternet and Psiphon. A VPN allows for one to create a secure connection to another network over the internet. When one connects their phone or computer to a VPN ,the phone acts as if it’s on the same local network as the VPN. This allows the phone to securely access local network resources even when one is on the other side of the world and thus can be used to access region-restricted websites among other things.

I was in Uganda over the winter break and took the opportunity to study and access the technological climate of the country. Internet has become an integral and accepted, if not necessary, part of life for many Ugandans as else where. It is expected to continue to grow as a functional requirement for people’s work, social and personal lives in the years to come. As a software engineer and technophile, I held a week long Introduction to Android mobile development workshop at Uganda Technology and Management University ,where 85% of the attendees learnt mobile programming skills and implored to keep or start developing their mobile phone ideas.

A student attendee android mobile programming.

I learnt that given full access and exposure, Ugandan youth will be a global force to reckon in the development of mobile or software tools to solve both local and global problems .The students wanted to learn more than I originally had planned and thus had to extend the program an additional 2 days. As they await for the government and others key players to provide and support technology programs,incubators,hackathons to expand on their knowledge and learn from each other, I plan to continue to expand and support the workshop program in order to teach more people mobile development programming concepts among other things.

Moses Namara helping out one of the student attendees during the workshop.

I was further inclined to research about the utilization,implementation and future plans for further advanced technological development of the country since it is a net importer of technology products and services. Information and communication technology is one of it’s top priority development agenda’s and is considered to be among East Africa’s regional research priorities as well. Technology is to be integrated in all other sector development programmes where it will be used as an enabler in agriculture modernization, transport, education, health service delivery, governance, conversation of biodiversity and national security.It will therefore be an enormous contribution in achieving the country’s medium and long term development goals.Investment in more information,communication and digital technologies is needed and will increase resources for business,implore industrial development and improve service delivery.The presence of a national backbone infrastructure to improve internet and broadband penetration, presents a huge opportunity for Uganda’s techie’s and you, if interested to fully utilize and capture the huge demand for technological solutions in various sectors.

As a budding software engineer and entrepernuer, I continue to explore more of these perks and opportunities as I develop out the motorcycle ride sharing phone application BodaBoda among other projects with the support from the awesome people at Startup Shell.

Finally, feel free to REACH OUT TOO!!!!!