KAMPALA – The United National Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has called for more political will if digital and financial inclusions are to be promoted in Uganda.
Chris Lukolyo, the Digital Country Lead at UNCDF said as the world is advancing in technology, digital inclusion is a way to go and every country that has embraced it has experienced greater development.
“Several countries have tried digital and financial inclusion but I must say the key pillar for a digital identity in a country to succeed political will must be there at all levels. In Uganda that will is there since currently, we see the government is encouraging people to have their National Identity cards since now an ID is a key to access many services such as sim card, banks services passport. Also, give the fact that there a push to have regulatory and policy environment shows a political will. However it needs to double,”Mr Lukolyo said during the Digital and Financial summit inclusion at Mestil Hotel on Friday.
He added that there is a need also for the government to put up the right digital infrastructure to push the aspect.
“Digital ID simply means I wouldn’t have to take my ID every time that I need to be identified, therefore there is still a need to digitize that ID such that one just needs to have a code or a number which can be scanned.”
Mr Lukolyo added that in order to link the rural communities that are still behind as far as digitalization is concerned, UNCDF has put severally programs to see that they are also included.
“At UNCDF we have programs like digital Community Entrepreneur where we are leveraging people within the community to reach out to the doorstep on the last person to help in the distribution of digital-related products. MTN and Airtel have done similar services. As long as we reach out to such communities with cheap gadgets or at a subsidized price, the essence of digital inclusion will be felt, because they will have to carry out businesses efficiently,” he said.
Damali Ssali, a Chartered Accountant who was a keynote speaker at the event noted that although Africa has had some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, economic growth can only be socially sustainable if it is inclusive right from rural centres to urban ones.
“When ever a society achieves financial inclusion, it can mobilize higher household savings, increase the number of entrepreneurs and enables the people to invest in themselves,” Ms Ssali said.
Prof. Maggie Kigozi, the board Chairperson for Uganda Country Coordinating Mechanism (UCCM) also highlighted the importance of digitalization in Uganda despite the fact it has been a slow process.
“How would Uganda have been if services like mobile money were not there during Covid-19? Digitization has helped various institutions like banks to improve customer care. We do not need to come near you. With these digital systems, things become more efficient,” she said.