CEO Today - Global Awards 2023

CEO Today Global Awards 2023 - UGANDA - - 102 - Samuel Mugabi Director Information Technology Services Samuel Mugabi is Director of Information Technology Services at Makerere University, a leading researchdriven university in Africa. The University recognises Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a critical enabler of higher education and over the last 20 years has invested substantially in creating an ICT-enabling environment for research, teaching and learning as well as other business processes. At present, the university has one of the largest university backbone networks on the continent, spanning over 40 kilometres of optical fiber. This Award recognises your excellence in holding the most improved ICT service offering at a university in Sub-Saharan Africa. How do you feel about receiving the award? I am enthralled and equally humbled by the award. It is a recognition of hard work by the ICT staff at the Directorate for ICT Support (DICTS) at Makerere University. It is their award. Please tell us more about your roles at Makerere University. I work as the Director of ICT and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Makerere University. I lead a team of over 35 ICT professionals who work tirelessly to create an ICT environment that enables Makerere’s core strategic-objective of being a leading researchdriven university. However, all is not roses! We operate in the developing global south, where the unit cost of bandwidth remains very high in comparison to the global north and far east. We encounter numerous optical fibercuts due to roadworks, building construction works etc., as well as an unreliable power supply and other issues. The government of Uganda has made efforts to reduce the import duties on ICT equipment to 10%. However, additional taxes such as VAT of 18% and an excise duty of 12% translate into a taxation cocktail on digital services and ICT imports which suppliers and service providers pass onto consumers like Makerere University, thereby aggravating the affordability challenge. In spite of all the aforementioned challenges, the University ICT service portfolio has continued to grow and enable Makerere University to remain one of the leading research-driven universities in Africa and beyond. This is partly attributed to the astute leadership of the University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, whose efforts have enabled ICTs to thrive at Makerere. How is Makere University preparing itself and its students for the digital future? Makerere University operates within an ecosystem or national framework created by the government of Uganda, which recognises that the future is digital and has thus established a number of statutory instruments such as the Digital Vision Uganda which underpins 4IR as its core enabler. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will take us from automation of processes to data-driven autonomous systems and machine learning. Africa as a whole still lags behind the rest of the world in the adoption of 4IR

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