The President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has appointed Dr John Okuonzi, the Director of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Kyambogo University as a member of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Taskforce. The task force, which is housed at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), is comprised of 23 members, headed by Hon. Eng. John Nasasira. Ministry of ICT is the Secretariat of this task force. Each member of the task force was selected and appointed by the President because of their individual merit and experience.
Dr Okuonzi comes to this taskforce with vast experience in technology given his thorough training in Japan. Patriotic John, while in Japan, was given a job but he turned down the offer because “I came to Japan to get training, knowledge and skills and to return home to use such knowledge and skills in my home country”, said Okuonzi. John has indeed put that training, knowledge and skills to better use in the use and development of technology by creating innovations that are now used nationally in public universities. His innovations include among others; E-kampus, E-voting, and AIMS.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an expression used in reference to the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. It is characterized by a series of technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. It covers a wide range of fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Blockchain Technologies, Robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles and 3D/4D printing. The Taskforce will also consider global trends, with a focus on developments and aspirations for Uganda and the East African region. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is more than just the emergence of promising new technologies; it also represents a fundamental change in the way we live, works, and relate to one another. It summarizes the wide range of changes driven by emerging technologies like changes in personal identity, changes in the labour sector, and changes in industrial capabilities, among others. It is affecting how people relate to one another, and how we think of ourselves. It is affecting the way value is created, exchanged and distributed, which is, in turn, transforming business models and value chains. The scale, scope and speed of the changes demand new regulatory and governance frameworks, focused on our responsibility to ensure an inclusive and human-centred future.
The work and role of the task force is to increase awareness of the comprehensiveness and speed of technological revolution and its possible impact on our development in Uganda, to create a framework to embrace this technology, come up with the platform to inspire the public-private cooperation and create a partnership on issues related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This involves looking at policy regulations and standards to be adopted in the Ugandan context.
The task force will also be responsible for recommending a strategy for the adoption and promotion of the fourth Industrial Revolution and this will include Human capital development, employment opportunities, infrastructure, and technology for the environmental, cybersecurity, privacy and ethics. The force will identify challenges and risks associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, come up with framework for research development and Innovation in relation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution strategy, which is, recommending the government to make people understand this technology, develop a policy framework for adoption of various technologies , come up with a media strategy on how to create awareness of the fourth Industrial revolution and guide on areas that need research, development and innovation.
Dr. Okuonzi revealed that with Kyambogo’s plan to be a centre of excellence for enterprise computing and innovation to create systems for local and International markets, to create and manufacture computers, phones and electronic accessories in Uganda, Kyambogo University is slated to lead in producing computer materials that manufacturers in Uganda can use. Kyambogo University will ride on the Engineering niche to drive this with the innovations that are made but remain unknown.
He appreciated Kyambogo University for providing free space to her staff. This has made it possible for staff to think and test their innovations. “University management supports innovations and that’s the reason we have succeeded,” he said.