Museveni launches Shs43b data centre in Jinja

President Museveni has launched the recently upgraded national cloud data centre in Jinja District under government’s strategy to provide centralized hosting services for its applications and data. PHOTO BY PHILIP WAFULA

What you need to know:

  • In the Financial Year 2012/13, Cabinet approved the strategy for rationalization of Information Technology service across Government entities.
  • The purpose of the strategy is to eliminate duplication and wastage of resources, with one of the key interventions under the strategy being the provision of a centralized data centre with hosting and disaster recovery services for Government applications and data.
  • NITA-U then embarked on a Cloud Project, launched it in September 2017 and finalized it in June 2019 with support and funding from the World Bank under the Regional Communication Infrastructure Program (RCIP).
  • Later, Mr Museveni commissioned the 1.1-kilometre Shs11.6b Kyabazinga Way and Main Street that was co-funded by Government and the World Bank and supervised by the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) programme.

President Museveni has launched the recently upgraded national cloud data centre in Jinja District under government’s strategy to provide centralized hosting services for its applications and data.
It is primarily to bring government services online by connecting the internet and government ministries, departments to the internet and be able to have inter-connectivity with an aim of improving service delivery.
Speaking at the launch in Jinja municipality on Thursday, Mr Museveni likened the data centre to functional body parts.
“I want to congratulate you for trying to get a ‘centralized brain,” he said.

Adding: “It seems now there is some attempt to put the brain parts together so that the brain is one, and the brain is able to know what the leg, arm, chest are doing.”
“Just as the brain has got its five senses, this ‘brain’ also seems to have some way of sensing (I think I saw it has some eyes in the form of cameras) and it has got some skin sensors because I saw it reacting to some provocation.”

The Tier 3 data centre, the first of its kind in the country, will house all government ICT applications, thereby saving taxpayers’ money and avoiding duplication and wastage of resources, Mr James Saaka, the executive director of National Information Technology Authority – Uganda (NITA-U), said.
“Uganda now has the capacity to host all government applications and data locally and centrally to improve security, cost and boost efficiency,” Mr Saaka said, adding that the country is now in charge of its own data as opposed to international hosting which comes with security risks.

According to Mr Saaka, the data centre, that has been built both in Kampala and Jinja, has key features to enable uptime of up to 99.98 per cent with less than 1.6 hours of downtime per year leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness for Government applications which improves service delivery.
“With the rising Global cyber threats it’s prudent that we take the most secure path as Government in protecting core applications and systems; and this can only be achieved by hosting all vital systems in the national data centre,” he said.

Mr Saaka urged Government ministries, departments and authorities to fully utilize the data centre by ensuring all their services are hosted there so as to benefit from the confidentiality, integrity and availability of Government systems.
“With the cloud data centre, the aforementioned can now concentrate on their core functions of delivering services to citizens without worrying about the availability and sustainability of the underlying infrastructure,’’ he said.

Uganda was recently ranked as the most secure cyberspace in Africa in the Global National Cyber Security Index. The National Cyber Security Index is a global index which measures preparedness of countries to prevent cyber threats and manage cyber incidents.
The launch of the new data centre, with features inherent of a Tier 3 classification, means Uganda continues to maintain and ensure a secure cyberspace that will drive trust and consequently usage of eservices across the nation, Mr Arnold Mangeni, the Director of Information Technology at NITA-U, said.

According to Mr Mangeni, the data centre, that boasts of ‘auxiliary infrastructure’, supports 57 government institutions and can accommodate up to 285 institutions, five times more than it can take.
“The data centre is able to monitor the environment, both local and international traffic, allow traffic from multiple countries and know which country is sending more traffic to Uganda,” Mr Mangeni added.
Mr Mangeni noted that Government was spending Shs2.1b on internet every year but will now save money instead of everyone building its own data centre.

“Building something that is sharable is cheaper. Previously, every Government institution set up its own data centre which has its own costs like being expensive to set up, vast IT resources to manage and budget to maintain.
The data centre was put together in five different phases by Sybyl Limited, previously Computer Point Limited over a period of 18 months starting in October 2017.
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