WAKISO, Uganda, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday commissioned a China-aided industrial skills training and production center at Namanve Industrial Park in the central district of Wakiso.
Museveni said the 30-million-U.S. dollar facility is critical in fast-tracking Uganda’s industrialization process, noting that it will not only provide skills to locals but also manufacture mechanical parts using modern technology.
He hailed China for its continued support in helping Uganda fast-track its economic development.
Museveni noted that the facility, which is seated on 15 acres (about 60,000 sq meters) of land, was the second of its kind China helps to build. The first was a food processing facility, which has been in existence for years.
Chen Huixin, Charge D’affaire of Chinese Embassy in Uganda, said the facility is one of the many significant projects arising out of the consensus between the two countries and a follow-up action of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in its consecutive sessions.
He said the center has five manufacturing workshops and an electronic, electrical and mechanical processing training building.
"These workshops will help to meet the demands of Uganda industry development. All these have been equipped with necessary furniture, facilities, mechanical equipment, instruments and tools, allowing 960 trainees to undertake training at the same time. A whole college and factory!" Chen said.
"We shall be looking forward to the trainees that graduate from the Industrial Skills Trainingenter into the job m arket of Uganda," he added.
Elioda Tumwesigye, minister of science, technology and innovation said industrial skilling will help fast-track the industrialization process in the country, which will in the end increase household income through creating employment.
Tumwesigye noted that with the state of the art machinery installed at the facility, Uganda stands out to benefit from the opportunities the Fourth Industrial Revolution has to offer. He said the institution now has machines that use artificial intelligence.
Charles Kwesiga, head of Uganda Industrial Research Institute, a state agency under which the facility will be affiliated is optimistic that the products that will be made will meet international standards.
"It is a very important facility. It is the initial step of creating modern machining, manufacturing. That way we can get in the market with competitive high quality products," Kwesiga said.
Uganda hopes to use the center as a production unit of automotive spare parts in a bid to bring down the import bill, according to Tumwesigye. Government figures show that the country spends 23 million dollars annually on importing motor vehicles spare parts and 18 million dollars on spares for motorcycles.
The country’s nascent motor vehicle manufacturing industry is also eyeing the industrial center as a key partner in producing vehicles parts.
"This center will be manufacturing the components that Kiira Motors Corporation will use to build various motor vehicles, like buses and so forth. The center is going to have capacity to develop parts, components which will be used in other industries," said Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa, executive chairman of Kiira Motors Corporation.
Kiira Motors Corporation is a state enterprise established to champion domestic vehicle manufacturing. The corporation is currently setting up a plant in the eastern Ugandan district of Jinja.