STATEMENT BY H.E YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
The President, World Summit on the Information Society,
The Secretary General ITU,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me much pleasure and honour to
address this World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
I bring heartfelt greetings and salutations from H.E. the
President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Government
and the people of Uganda.
My delegation present here is indeed
happy to be associated with this Summit where world leaders
are gathered to chart out an all-inclusive information
On behalf of the Government of Uganda, I
wish to convey our gratitude to H.E. the President of
Tunisia, Ben Ali, for accepting to host the second phase of
WSIS and for the warm hospitality accorded to my delegation
by the Government and people of Tunisia since we arrived in
this beautiful and historic Mediterranean city of Tunis.
I also wish to add my gratitude to the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for its leading
role in coordinating the activities and logistics that have
culminated into the convening of this summit. Special thanks
go to the Secretary General and his team for their
I recall with satisfaction the successful
December 2003 Geneva Summit where we adopted the Declaration
of Principles and Plan of Action, which will guide us in
building an all-inclusive information society.
As a developing country, Uganda faces
enormous challenges in our quest to achieve the WSIS
objectives so as to fully reap maximum benefits from the
opportunities offered by information and communication
In 1996 my Government put in place the
communication policy whose main objective was to attract
private investment by creating a conducive policy and
regulatory environment. We have since witnessed tremendous
growth of the sector in terms of growth in the customer base
which has grown by a factor of over 20 times. A variety of
services in the market are also offered.
In order to ensure equitable access to
ICTs in the country, Uganda pioneered in Africa, the
development of a policy on universal access for
communications leveraged through the Rural Communications
Development Fund (RCDF), covering both telephone and ICTs.
RCDF operates on the principles of
internationally accepted best practices for allocating
"smart subsidies" to private sector companies that wish to
serve the universal access market. I am pleased to note that
to-date, through the RCDF, a substantial number our people
living in rural areas now have access to basic ICT services.
Furthermore, in 2003, the Government
approved the National ICT Policy geared to exploring the use
of ICTs in governance, business, education, health and
agriculture so as to improve the quality of life for
everybody irrespective of sex, age or social status.
This Summit comes at an opportune moment
when the Government of Uganda has prioritised easy access to
relevant information and efficient communications in
achieving human development. We hope this event will be
another milestone in our ICT-driven socio-economic
Turning to the theme - financing
mechanisms and Internet governance - my Government is
optimistic that this Summit will reach a consensus on the
pertinent issues underlying this event. We believe in a
In line with achieving the Millennium
Development Goals, as set out by the United Nations in 2000,
Uganda has gone a long way in ensuring sustainable national
development through availability and access to reliable,
cost effective, and affordable communications services
largely delivered through an enabled private sector.
My Government attaches a lot of
importance to ICTs and has consequently identified it as a
priority area for funding under the Poverty Eradication
Action Plan (PEAP) and Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture
(PMA) through provision of timely and relevant information.
The Government of Uganda was quick to
recognise the need for special measures in the reform
process if the majority rural-based Ugandans (80 percent of
the estimated 26 million people) were to access affordable
communication services. Besides, there is a positive linkage
between communications and poverty reduction.
Despite the excellent sector performance,
Uganda’s walk down the ICT road has not been without
challenges. Worth noting is the fact that Uganda is not only
a landlocked country but "e-landlocked" as well - without
direct access to the international fibre backbone. This
poses a tremendous bottleneck to Uganda's access to the
global information society.
It is for this reason that Uganda
strongly supports the various regional initiatives to
provide a submarine fibre optic cable system for Eastern and
Southern Africa (EASSY Project) in order to lower the costs
of communications to the rest of the world. In this regard,
we call upon our development partners to support this
regional initiative, which aims at providing a backbone ICT
On Internet governance, we support the
involvement of all stakeholders in the decision-making
mechanism related to the Internet.
We further call for international
collaboration in the fight against misuse of the Internet
through such practices as spam, pornography and cyber crime,
which undermine the enormous benefits presented by the
Uganda welcomes and supports the creation
of the Digital Solidarity Fund, which should help us address
the inequalities in the use of ICTs so that we all move
together towards the realisation of a truly global and
all-inclusive Information Society.
The future of the ICT sector in Uganda is
bright. The Government is committed to ensuring favourable
policies and strategies that promote the participation of
the private sector in a competitive environment.
We believe this Summit will go a long way
in fulfilling the realisation of our noble objectives. The
success of this Summit is our success.
I thank you for your attention.