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Uganda commissions $30 million Industrial Skills Center that will teach students how to manufacture machines and accessories to help in the industrialization of the country

Background

The government of Uganda in collaboration with China has commissioned a $30 million Machine manufacturing skills center that will combine industrial training and apprenticeship. The industrial skills center was fully funded by China as a grant and is based at Namanve in Mukono District.

The benefits of the skills center

No country can develop without going through industrialization. With the inauguration of this center, Uganda is now on the path to achieving her industrialization ambitions.

Firstly, this center will provide the right environment for manufacturing the machines and equipment needed to bring the country into the industrial age. Uganda has various resources be it agriculture, oil, mining and others. The establishment of this center means that the country can develop home-made machines that will transform these resources into finished products.

Secondly, universities in the country such as Makerere University are conducting various researches for the benefits of the country and the region at large. But they face major handicaps in translating this research into innovative products and services that will impact society. Now this research institute will provide the link between academic research and industries.

Finally, if properly planned the private sector has a lot to gain from this initiative. For example, they could now confidently sponsor innovative research projects in Ugandan higher institutes knowing that the results of such research could be translated into real-life products and services that will positively impact their companies.

Industrial dreams of President Museveni

Uganda’s president Museveni frequently laments about how Africa missed out on the industrial revolution and that he will do his utmost to make sure that Uganda industrializes. With this objective, Uganda has formed a burgeoning partnership with China thas has continued to flourish and is leading the country towards its dreams of being a middle-income country. Uganda’s collaboration with China has yielded various massive projects such as in electricity generation, modern railways, airports, the Entebbe Expressway, the underground ICT backbone, construction of industrial parks, among many others.

China-Africa relations is resulting in the industrialization of the continent

Uganda in collaboration with china has built many industrial parks in addition to the unveiling of the country’s first smart phone and laptop manufacturing plant late last year. Moreover, with the addition of this machine manufacturing skills center, it is on the path towards realizing her industrialization ambitions.

Nigeria is also constructing a plant that will manufacture train tracks and coaches at home by collaborating with China. Moreover, it is also constructing Africa’s first transport university in collaboration with the Asian giant.

Ethiopia is also among the leading collaborators with china on the continent. It has built and commissioned several industrial parks and many are on the pipeline. Ethiopia had the fasting growing economy in the world in the past decade and its collaboration with china definitely played a role in achieving this feat. The East African nation is now on the verge of becoming the manufacturing hub of the continent.

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Senegal is constructing West Africa’s largest wind farm that will supply 158MW of electricity to 2 million people

The Taliba N’Diaye wind farm is part of President Macky Sall’s “Emerging Senegal” Plan which aims to speed up Senegal’s development. The wind farm will be completed by mid this year and will supply 158MW of clean energy as well as increasing the country’s energy supply by 15%. The wind farm has already started supplying 50MW to the national grid. Moreover, the wind farm will offset about 300,000 tons of carbon emissions annually thus protecting the environment from climate change devastation.

A renewable energy development company, Lekela Power, is building the wind farm. The total cost of the project is 340 million euros and is being funded by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), The Danish Export Credit Agency (MIGA) and the United States Agency for International Development Power Africa. The wind farm comprises of 46 wind turbines each producing 3.45MW of electricity and is located 100 kilometers north of Dakar.

Renewable energy as the future energy source for the continent

Africa has tremendous potential for renewable energy. For instance, the Inga falls in the DRC has the potential to power up half the continent. The continent also has year-round sunlight ideal for solar energy. Although the continent is blessed with massive energy resources,  it is not being utilized to the maximum. As a result, more than 500 million Africans lack access to electricity.

This lack of access to electricity contributes to the low manufacturing output and high unemployment rates in the continent. For instance, it has been reported that Nigeria suffers a yearly 5% loss in GDP due to erratic power supply. Consequently, most Nigerians use back-up generators for their homes and businesses. This negatively affects the environment and health of the people through the pollution from generator fumes.

The way forward for Africa’s energy crisis

Currently, there is only one solar manufacturing company, Photovoltaic Technology Intellectual Property, in the continent located in South Africa. The market for renewable sources of energy is huge in the continent.

African entrepreneurs should grab this opportunity and set-up solar manufacturing plants. There is a huge untapped solar market on the continent. Entrepreneurs could partner with foreign companies to invest in solar manufacturing plants on the continent. This would lead to skills transfer as well as pioneering innovative solutions to solar manufacturing in the continent.

It is only through siting these companies in the continent that will lead to the long term solutions of the energy crisis. This is because when these companies are domiciled in the continent, they would provide maintenance services as well as using local content to provide more innovative solar products.

Congratulations to Senegal for leading the way for wind farms in West Africa.

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