Anyone who pays attention to news in Uganda will have heard about a certain NFT III project launched earlier this month by the ICT Association, in conjunction with the National IT Authority (NITA-U) and the Uganda Business Process Outsourcing Association (UBPOA).
The project was launched at a breakfast event held at Kampala Serena Hotel and graced by the Dutch Ambassador to Uganda H.E Hennekens on Thursday February 5, 2015.
Following the news, few friends and acquaintances reached out; and at some point I was a bit agitated that my phone was receiving an unusually high number of calls. (Issue being, I generally don’t like receiving voice calls).
Expectedly, eyebrows raise when large sums of American dollars are the subject of any discussion. They seldom come in seven digits. And with the raised eyebrows comes a multitude of imaginations, concoctions and some times even rumors.
So to avoid the confusion, here’s the real story.
Around December 2013, I was contacted by a gentleman whose name I don’t recall. He was working with some consultants from the International Trade Center in Geneva, and they were exploring the possibility of working with us – the ICT Association of Uganda. They were acting on the recommendation of NITA-U (God bless them).
At the time, it didn’t make much sense, but I agreed to meet them.
A lot of meetings happened, and there were numerous correspondences and draft proposals until the final Project Plan was agreed and approved by all stakeholders.
NTF III is being run simultaneously in Kenya and Bangladesh, three priority countries of the International Trade Center. In all the countries, NTF III will make specific efforts to increase the number of women in the IT&ITES sectors. The implementing agency, ITC, works through trade support institutions – specifically industry Associations.
But the overall objective of the NTF III is to increase the volume of ICT exports from Uganda.
“This project will build the capacity of enterprises to export, while also strengthening trade support institutions in a way that makes the intervention sustainable over the long term,” said ITC’s Anders Aeroe at the project launch.
To do this, implementers have selected 30 local companies that will be direct beneficiaries of the project.
A lot of the people hearing/reading about this project are wrongfully thinking the project will distribute $1,025,000 among 30 companies, and that everyone can go buy a nice car for the CEO and life’s good.
The project will target to have impact through enhancing the capacity of the beneficiaries, positioning them to be able to handle clients from certain targeted markets, and then connecting them to such clients, thereby boosting trade.
Through various local and international trade fairs, beneficiary companies will be exposed to new clients and new markets that will directly help their sales. That’s how impact will be realized.
The selection criteria of the companies
I’ve been contacted by a number of people wondering how these companies were selected, and why Company X or Company Y is missing and whatnot. But interestingly, all the people who have contacted me have one thing in common: none of their companies responded to the EOI.
You see, back in November 2014, and expression of interest (EOI) was put out asking interested companies to fill a certain online form and basically, express their interest.
Initially, just over 40 companies responded to the call, distributed through various forums including I-Network and ICTAU. PC Tech carried the story on November 3rd, 2014. The EOI was later published in local newspapers, including The New Vision, and the number of respondents grew to just over 80 by the time of the deadline.
It is from these 80 that the 30 companies were selected by a team of independent consultants hired by and operating at the International Trade Center in Geneva, Switzerland.
It also needs to be noted that most of these companies (that applied) were visited by the consultants and basic information selected.
What to expect
It’s still early days. We’ll know more in the coming weeks, so keep an eye here.
Click here to see the list of the selected companies.Hits:3400