KAMPALA – The minister of energy and mineral development, Hon Mary Gorette Kitutu has commended Kampala International University (KIU) for supporting Women in Technology, saying that by “empower a woman and you will have empowered the nation.”
The minister had on Friday, February 7, 2020, presided over the 2020 African Women in Tech (AWIT) conference hosted by KIU at the University’s Main Campus in Kansanga, Ggaba Road, Kampala.
Minister also lauded AWIT for choosing Uganda for the “INSPIRED 2020” International Conference.
“I’d also like to thank Kampala International University and AWIT, for proudly sponsoring the Conference and the IBOM LLC for creating this fabulous platform for women on the continent to shine,” said the minister.
AWIT conference is a product of IBOM LLC dedicated to providing opportunities and a safe space for women to grow and lead in the tech space.
The conference is an opportunity to meet outstanding and extraordinary women doing remarkable things in technology. It is also an opportunity to network with these super achievers, learn the latest in Tech, Startups, and Funding.
Minister Kitutu said that throughout Africa, strong female role models and women-led empowerment initiatives have always had a large role to play in the nurturing of young female minds.
“Initiatives like AWIT have provided opportunities and a safe space for women to grow and lead in the tech space,” she said.
At the beginning of 2019, a study carried out by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) showed that women in the tech industry constitute only 28% of professionals in the sector worldwide and just 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa. In an earlier study in the 2017 study, the MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs highlighted Uganda (34.8%) and Botswana (34.6%) as having the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs globally. But female-led tech startups still have some of the lowest numbers across the continent.
The minister said that this presents a need for a support system connecting not only women in tech, but also a wider ‘Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics’ network of professionals; as well as the need for more mentorship and networking capabilities.
Kitutu also commended the Board of Trustees and the Management of KIU for investing heavily in science and technology-driven academic programs.
“As a country, we very proud of the University, which has distinguished itself in supporting government efforts to develop the badly needed human resources, particularly in Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and engineering sciences. The KIU Western Campus is now commonly known as the upcoming Science and Technology Hub,” she added.
The university Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mouhamad Mpezamihingo said that as the school, they are delighted to host AWIT conference which he says is a big International Conference under women in technology.
“This is the right time to host this conference. As we all know KIU is shaping high education in this country and in the region, with our recent ranking as the best private university once again, we think we are positioned given our capacity in terms of human resource and the facilities,” said the VC.
He said that hosting this conference means raising awareness among women scientists and girls to know that within Uganda, science and technology can also be increased.
Ms Mariam Basajja, the ambassador between the KIU and AWIT said that the main purpose of the conference was basically to provide a platform for African women in technology to come together, share ideas as it would help in advancing their carriers.
She said that this conference would build confidence in women to compete with men in the science and technology field.
Ms Janet Waiyaki, the organiser lead said that AWIT conference at KIU is the first-ever conference of its kind in Uganda.
“This conference happens yearly in different countries and basically in this country, this is the first time and we shall be having the next one in May in Ghana and Nigeria, we move to Kigali and finally in Kenya this year,” she said.
“This conference usually has three factors which include an internship program where we connect young leaders to different companies. We also have a mentorship program which is online that will advise you on how to exhaust technology,” she added.
During the university’s 21st graduation ceremony last year, the University proprietor Al Haji Hassan Basajjabalaba who is also the University Chairman Board of Trustees revealed that they are opening a hospital in Kampala come the year 2020.
“We are putting up a hospital in Kampala whose primary role is to train specialized students and staff. This one will commence next year in September,” said Bassajjabalaba.
Bassajabalaba said that as the school, they are looking forward to developing KIU Western Campus into a world-class science and technology hub.