The Role of ICT in the Social Economic Development of Uganda
On the 31st October 2018, I was invited by the Uganda Martyrs University student’s union (UMUSU) to talk about the Role of ICT in Social-Economic Development of Uganda. The sub theme was ICT as an Effective Management tool for Public and Business Administration. As I reflected on the theme; I concluded that the role of ICT should be to create solutions to the various challenges people face in their respective communities. Below is a summary of the day’s speech.
As I reflected on the key terminologies in the day’s theme these definitions stood out;
Social; this relates to the human society. The interaction between individuals or groups of people. The welfare of human beings as members of society social institutions.
Welfare; the health, happiness and fortunes of a person or group of people.
The statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need.
Economic Development: The process by which low living standards become high living standards. It also refers to the process by which the overall health, well-being and academic levels of a general population improve.
In brief, What is the role of ICT in improving people’s welfare; health, happiness, fortunes, wealth or academic levels?
ICT ; Information and communication technologies which include but not limited to; internet, video, telephone, remote control, social networks, IoT, computers and block-chain technology. This affects various life aspects like; tourism, transport, health, education, military, mineral & energy, agriculture etc..
As we reflect on the theme of the day, let’s take a look at the life of Nikola Tesla, the father of electricity. He was born on 10th July 1856 in Serbia, present day Croatia. He studied engineering and physics in the 1870’s.
His first job was in Hungary working for the Budapest telephone exchange. He made improvements on the central station equipment and it’s claimed that he perfected the telephone repeater and amplifier though this was not patented.
He then moved to France and Germany before relocating to USA to work for Thomas Edison. At that time Edison focused on Direct Current yet Tesla was envisioning Alternating Current. With support from George Westinghouse, he left Edison’s company and founded Tesla Electric Light and Manufacturing. By his death on 7th January 1943, Tesla had over 300 patents in 26 countries that have been accounted for. Many of Tesla’s patents were in the United States, Britain, and Canada, but many other patents were approved in countries around the globe.
The following are some of the most known inventions by Tesla;
- Alternating Current.
- Induction motor.
- Power transformer design.
- Tesla coil and lightening harvesting.
- Wireless transfer of electricity and wireless lighting.
- The radio.
- Steam powered reciprocating electric generator.
- X-Ray producing devices.
- Remote control
- Electric car that would automatically charge as you drive.
- Bladeless turbine
- Electric Arc Lamp
- Electric railway system
- Generation of earth quakes.
The key question is; Why would one person have over 300 patents to his name and you have none yet you are all created from the same source?
In conclusion, therefore I proposed that just as Tesla used his inventions to improve humanity and make man’s life easier, we can equally use ICT for the betterment of communities. If we are to do that, then let’s reflect on these life principles from Tesla’s life story.
- What are your childhood dreams that seem to be re-occurring in your life? When Tesla was young, he had a dream where he saw a rotating turbine on the Niagara falls. He told his parents that he would build this turbine. And it became a self-fulfilling prophesy when he was consulted by Edward Dean Adams, on the development of a two phase electricity generation system on the Niagara. By following your childhood dreams that are persistent in your life, lies the spark that will change the world.
- What is your attitude towards work? Work to learn and not earn. Gain the necessary work experience and money shall follow you. Offer a solution at your work-place.
- Be a problem solver. What challenges do you or your community face that you think ICT could address? What complaints do people around you have that ICT could solve? As you develop a problem solver mind-set, this will not only create employment / work for you but will attract wealth and riches to you.
- Give up the employee mentality that had been ingrained in you since childhood. You are not meant to study and work at a job. You are meant to be a person of value that is creative and takes initiative rather than one that is only waiting for instructions.
- Think about your obituary on the day of your funeral. What will be said or remembered about you? Think about the achievements and lives that shall have been impacted by the time of your death. All those things that you want to be said at your funeral start doing today and live your life backwards.
- Know that you are unique. You are not a photocopy. Remember your thumb print, ear print or iris are unique even if you are an identical twin. Don’t live someone else’s life. Discover your life purpose and live daily to serve it to the world.
- Don’t make the grave richer. One author said that the richest place on the earth is the grave. If you would mine it like you would a gold mine, you would mine the songs that were never sung, businesses that were never built, cures and inventions that were never made, ideas and dreams that never came to fruit. Don’t die with your music on the inside of you. Live full but die empty.
The world needs that ICT solution and invention that is still in you, give it to us. Thanks
About the speaker:
Alex Muwonge is a mentor, skills development coach and social entrepreneur. He can be reached on 0773-037103, 0703-270127.