Briefing: Uganda govt, Facebook strengthen ties amidst plans to remove OTT; Mwikirize nabs MICCAI 2019 award and more

Fatu Ogwuche, politics, government outreach manager for Africa
Fatu Ogwuche, politics, government outreach manager for Africa. Image credit: IREX.

Facebook Africa executives have met with officials from the government.

A thread posted on Twitter by Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC) shows that the meet-up involved training of government officials and they also discussed how the social media giant can help the government optimize the internet to boost civic engagement.

Facebook owns WhatsApp and Instagram, also popular social networking sites in the country.

GCIC was established to enhance service delivery by getting feedback from citizens. It is supervised by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.

Awel Uwihanganye heads Government Citizen Interaction Centre.

The meet-up was at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

Some of the notable officials from Facebook that attended are Mercy Ndegwa, head of Public Policy, East Africa at Facebook; George Owour, Manager- Public Policy, East Africa at Facebook; Fatu Ogwuche, politics, government outreach manager for Africa.

This a good development considering how the government has been working to find a way to coordinate with internet giants like Facebook to make the use of online services easier, for instance, removal of OTT taxes which have been criticized for increasing the costs of accessing the internet.

In a recent Facebook post, ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze revealed that they were fighting the tax internally though removing it won’t necessarily reduce costs since the infrastructure is the major challenge. Facebook recently revealed plans to increase its investment in Africa to expand its reach.

(Follow the thread below for details)


Kiira Motors to unveil first buses in 2021

Ugandan-grown automobile maker Kiira Motors Corporation has revealed that the factory it’s constructing in Jinja will start rolling out electric buses to the Ugandan market in 2021.

Being constructed at Kagogwa village, Kakira Town Council in Jinja District by National Enterprise Corporation [NEC] and the UPDF engineering brigade, work on the project began in February of this year.

Shs63.7b will be spent on the project and it is expected to take two and a half years. When completed, the plant will have a capacity to assemble 5,000 vehicles every year in its first phase.


Dr. Mwikirize receives MICCAI 2019 travel award

Cosmas Mwikirize has been given the prestigious MICCAI 2019 travel award. This was during a conference in Shenzhen, China.

The award rewards outstanding graduate student authors and subsidizes their attendance to present their papers at MICCAI 2019. Each awardee will receive a US$500 cash award to help defray travel expenses.

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