Before Uganda attained her independence in 1962, digitalization was a challenge. Many Ugandans did not have enough knowledge about technologies and how to utilize digital platforms for social capital, marketing, learning, communication, financial transactions and many more services.
The period after was also characterized by political insecurity which put Uganda in an unfavourable position to realize economic growth through the ICT sector. However, 20 years ago, Uganda started driving towards and migrating steadily from analogue to digitalization of systems.
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has upheld its mandate to regulate and monitor communication activities in the country during this digital journey. To-date, Uganda is among the first growing digital countries in the world. The commission’s review report on the performance and trends in the industry for the period April to June 2018 realized UGx: 141.3 billion for telecommunication taxes with 13.8 billion as an increment from the previous collection.
The 31 PSP (Packet Success Probability) Voice and Data, rose from 85,744.0 to 96,890.8 Mbps, resulting to an increase in the bandwidth per million inhabitants by 13% with almost 23 million people using mobile money, having over 358,272,314 transactions made which amounts to UGx: 19,347,889,204,239 Trillion in the government coffers for that specific quarter.
The complexity and inter-play of the ICT sector with estimated internet users, of about 18,502,166 and other service sectors like health, trade, banking, insurance calls for a single legislative data-protection mandate to protect individual privacy with more attention on shaping competition and consumer protection unresolved challenges including poor networks, and illegal broadcasting of content in the digital world.
The entry of new data-based service firms to the market is easy after the elimination of unfair competition tendencies leveraged by some of the mobile operators due to the partnerships. For example, the data financial inclusion collaboration between Financial Deepening Uganda (FSDU) with Uganda Communications Commission; is to help in the appraisal of the Mobile Network Operator market conduct and protection of customer interests without bias.
Consumers’ dissatisfaction of services should primarily be a responsibility of service providers and in case of dissatisfactions from the results the party should be free to petition the commission or seek court redress; the commission should also continue to do baseline surveys to establish a ground that the company meets the requirements/ standards before being awarded a license for its operation.
Therefore, Uganda’s data protection framework is positioned to address gaps in vast dimensions which include coverage, new technologies, and data transfers, strengthening enforcement, and managing the compliance burden to create an ICT enabling environment for the growth of her economy and better service delivery.