Future of Data Sharing and Reuse in Uganda

April 2023 – Pulse Lab Kampala and Pulse Lab Finland

Uganda recognises data as a critical asset to its transformation and in achieving its ambition of becoming a regional leader in the area of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). However, the fragmented data ecosystem in the country poses a significant challenge to spurring innovation.

The success of data sharing and reuse in Uganda strongly lies in the hands of all stakeholders and data players. UNGP Kampala, in cooperation with UNGP Finland and the Ugandan Ministry of ICT and National Guidance used Futures and foresight approaches to bring together these key stakeholders to create a space to discuss future opportunities and build a shared preferred future for data sharing.

What did we do?

Uganda’s success in the data space depends on a collective effort from every actor that recognises the transformative power of data. This was a key reason to bring together over 60 participants, from national and international public and private partners, civil society and academia to discuss the future of data sharing and re-use in Uganda.

Participants gathered for a three-day retreat in Jinja, where they were guided through a series of foresight exercises. Participants mapped the data-sharing ecosystem for three use + cases (tourism, cities and migration), and identified the major challenges and opportunities in each of them. Next, they developed a shared vision for the future of data sharing.
The focus was on creating a future where data sharing is seamless, efficient and widely accepted across all sectors. Participants built upon these visions by identifying concrete actions and collaboration, and defining their and their organization’s role in advancing the data ecosystem.

What did we learn?

The retreat was a unique opportunity to experiment with various foresight methods, to build capacity and identify the best ways to leverage foresight as a tool to align stakeholders.
Some key learnings on the value of foresight include:

  • Building trust: Using the future can help to surface underlying assumptions and push conversations beyond the obvious challenges. In the case of Uganda, where the data space is fragmented and most data exist in silos controlled by specific entities, we tend to focus on promoting data sharing between stakeholders as a solution. Using foresight tools helped shift the conversation to an often overlooked issue: data owners tend not to trust the data collectors, hindering effective data sharing in the ecosystem. Using vision-building tools allowed participants to build a shared preferred future for data-sharing and to address this issue of trust.
  • Uncovering novel solutions: Foresight can encourage the discovery of novel solutions by lifting us beyond the challenges of today. By zooming out to a time horizon that is situated further in the future, participants feel less inclined to focus on the present-day challenges and instead are able to imagine brighter futures. For example, when discussing data sharing within the tourism sector, participants were able to leave current challenges behind and envision a future where Uganda is a top tourism country destination for foreigners but also an attractive destination for domestic travellers.
  • Moving from vision to action: Foresight is not only a powerful tool to align stakeholders’ views and create a shared vision; it also helps participants to create actionable futures. During this retreat, foresight helped participants to collectively identify the necessary steps to achieve a positive future for the data ecosystem in Uganda. After this, participants brainstormed and committed to specific actions that they or their organization could already take today to advance these preferred futures. We might not always know how we reach the aspired future, but sharing a vision helps stakeholders to align their actions against it working as one united front.


In conclusion, the retreat was a success in bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders and creating a conducive environment for discussions around data sharing, thereby building awareness and trust that can guide future efforts to unlock data’s transformative power and propel Uganda forward into the digital age by aligning stakeholders to act against a shared vision of a preferred future.

The way forward

The retreat resulted in concrete achievements that set the stage for continued progress in this important area. Participants agreed to establish an informal working group to continue the dialogue on advancing the data-sharing ecosystem. During the retreat, they explored and agreed on the main purpose of the group, the key questions they wish to tackle together, and how their organizations can support the emergence of the data ecosystem in Uganda.

Moving forward, continued engagement and collaboration among stakeholders will be essential to foster responsible data sharing and reuse in Uganda and to build trust between key stakeholders, with the working group playing a critical role in this effort.

Special thanks go to the UNGP teams (Kampala and Finland) and, more importantly, the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda, who convened the workshop.

Want to find out more? See here the full report on the future of data-sharing and re-use in Uganda.


The Future of Data Sharing and Reuse for Uganda workshop participants (October2022)

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