Absa Bank Uganda has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kyambogo University that will facilitate the students and staff of the university to acquire laptops and other related accessories on the loan installment basis.

“Despite the strong benefits of digital learning, the cost of acquisition of enabling tools like laptops remains a barrier in Uganda. Through this arrangement, we provide a solution that brings flexibility for laptop ownership, removing barriers and offering affordable financing of up to UGX 5 million to enable students to acquire laptops. As a digitally forward bank, we believe digital learning increases access to education and knowledge while empowering students with a mindset and capabilities that set them up for success in their present and future,” said Mumba Kalifungwa, Managing Director, Absa Bank Uganda.

The loans will have a maximum tenure of 36 months depending on the student’s remaining study duration. The purpose of the loan will be strictly to purchase laptops and the funds will be disbursed directly to the supplier who will provide the laptops, warranty, and other after-sales services.

Speaking at the MOU signing, the University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eli Katunguka said this arrangement was key to the university facilitating e-learning.

“The adoption of online learning has been accelerated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the closure of educational institutions for a long time. Kyambogo University has since resorted to e-learning as an alternative. However, many of our students have been unable to utilize online learning resources due to a lack of digital tools. This arrangement will make it easier for both students and staff to acquire laptops, making learning more efficient and even providing our students with access to a wide pool of resources online expanding their access to knowledge,” he said.

According to the 2019/20 Uganda National Household survey, the proportion of the population that owns a computer or laptop is only 2 percent, with 50 percent noting the high cost of digital gadgets as a barrier to access.

“Our role is to support government efforts towards ensuring the availability of a well-trained and skilled workforce. In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s important to prepare our students for the world of work where they will need to use digital tools and platforms. I am pleased that with the support of Absa, we are taking steps in the right direction towards equipping our students with digital skills. In addition, digital learning can only happen if we strengthen the digital literacy of our teachers hence the need to include our teaching staff in this arrangement,” Prof. Katunguka added.

Under the arrangement, all laptops acquired will be insured against theft and applicants will receive favorable repayment terms.

“Absa Bank Uganda leverages its digitally-forward purpose by investing in technology platforms that support the improved delivery of social services. Education and Skills Development in particular, is a key focus for the bank, which is why we have continued to support youth access to education through our Scholarship Programme, employability through the ReadytoWork initiative, and partnerships with institutions of higher learning like Kyambogo University. This is one of the many ways through which we remain a considerable force for good in the communities within which we operate,” Kalifungwa concluded.