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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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Uganda Launches first Laptop and Smartphone manufacturing plant to supply its market

Uganda’s first smartphone and laptops manufacturing and assembly plant was launched on Friday 22nd November 2019 by President Museveni. At full capacity, the factory will produce 2000 feature phones, 1500 smartphones, 800 laptops, 2000 chargers, 4000 USB cables and 4000 sets of earphones. It will also provide 400 direct employment. The plant is located in Kampala and is by Chinese firm Engo and the products will be branded SIMI.

The president praised the Chinese for their business ventures in Uganda and Africa which according to him has improved Uganda’s GDP growth. The president further highlighted his intentions for the country saying that electricity is now being adequately provided and he is working on reducing transport costs and improving the ICT of the country all of which will help in ease of doing business.

According to the State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite, the country will save foreign exchange and reduce import bills by manufacturing the phones locally. She further urged Ugandans to patronize their own locally produced phones to improve the country’s economic development. The ICT Minister Mr Frank Tumwebaze said that the smartphones produced locally will be affordable making it easier for Ugandans to go online.

Uganda follows Rwanda in Smartphone manufacturing

Last month, Rwanda launched Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing plant. Uganda has now followed in the footsteps of Rwanda. This is a positive step in the right direction. With the setting up of a local smartphone and laptop manufacturing plant, Uganda will gain a lot. Firstly, local competencies and skills transfer will be enhanced. Ugandans will ow learn the manufacturing process that goes in the production of laptop and mobile phones. This is very important as spin-offs companies can be created that could specialize in the manufacturing of separate components. Furthermore, the technology ecosystem of the country will be improved by having this manufacturing plant. Secondly, the economy of Uganda will benefit a lot. The company will employ more than 400 people. In addition, the government gains revenue through the taxes paid by the company. The entire value chain involved in setting up a high-tech manufacturing plant will provide lots of indirect employment too.

China-Africa relations going another step up

Chinese companies are now setting up high tech companies in Africa. Last month, Nigeria started constructing West Africa’s first rail wagon manufacturing plant with the help of the Chinese. China’s mobile phone company Tecno also has an assembly plant in Ethiopia.

African governments should now make sure that local content in the manufacturing contracts with Chinese companies go up. This would further develop local competencies and skills transfer. In addition, by using more local content in manufacturing, the economy grows significantly at the same time providing massive employment.

Indeed this manufacturing plant is a step in the right direction, kudos to President Museveni.

Should other African countries follow in this step? Share your thoughts below.