ICT ministry committed on reducing cost of internet, says Ssebugwawo

ICT State Minister Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, speaks during the exhibition in Kampala at the weekend. . Photo | courtesy 

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Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo sys the world is now driven by internet connectivity, which therefore makes government focus on deepening uptake of technology and bringing down the cost of data.

ICT State Minister Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo has said government is working with partners to achieve seamless internet connectivity that is likely to bring down the cost of internet. 

Speaking at the Fintech Landscape Exhibition, which is a culmination of this year’s 40 Days 40 Fintechs Initiative, which essentially shines a light on financial technology (Fintech) players from across East Africa, Ms Ssebugwawo said the world is now driven by internet connectivity, which therefore makes government focus on 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,” she said, noting that affordable internet has partly been achieved even as more still needs to be done. 

For instance, Ms Ssebugwawo said, a gigabyte of data, which in 2011 would cost an average of Shs60,000, has been brought down to an average of Shs5,000, which has been achieved through a number of initiatives and policies. 

The 2022 Fintech Landscape Exhibition, which was concluded Friday, ended with government promising to deepen internet penetration, currently at about 25 per cent, while at the same time work towards reducing the cost of accessing the internet. 

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

During the discussion, industry players and experts spoke of high cost of the internet, compared to other countries in East Africa, such as Kenya and Rwanda, as key factor that have curtailed the growth of Fintechs. 

Participants at the exhibition organised by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop, Modusbox, and Crosslake Tech and supported by the Gates Foundation also implored government to institute industry-friendly regulations, close the gender divide and ensure robust cyber security as well as asking government to support open application programme interfaces (APIs) to build software and applications. 

Ms Ssebugwawo said initiatives such as 40 Days 40 Fintechs are part of the reasons that have spurred government into coming up with industry regulations that will balance support for inclusive digital financial services and innovation. 

Building confidence        
Fintechs form one of the largest inclusive financial platforms. However, due to a number of challenges, among which include the cost of doing business and cyber-attacks, they still struggle to reach every Ugandan due to low confidence levels among some users. 

Therefore, participants noted that government and industry players must build confidence by ensuring security of data, safeguarding deposits of end users, and warranting that consumer protection against any risk is paramount.