By Nancy Emily Nagujja
The Presidential CEO Forum board members led by the Vice Chairman Mr. Emmanuel Katongole paid a courtesy visit and tour to the Uganda Industrial Research Institute in Namanve Industrial Area. The Board members in attendance included: Prof. Charles Kwesiga, Mr. Douglas Opio, Dr. Ruth Biyinzika Musoke, Ms. Irene Birungi Mugisha, Ms. Brenda Tibamwenda, and Mr. Mathias Katamba.
The visit commenced with a tour of the facility where the industrial training is done, followed by a meeting of the board members together with their host, Prof. Charles Kwesiga. Mr. Katongole Emmanuel in his remarks highlighted that Private Sector cannot be handled by policy statement. “We have got to get the good marketing team, even if we start with one of two that are well trained who can go to these industries,” He said. “The Uganda Industrial Research Institute is a resourceful facility that the country needs to utilize,” He added. A lot of SME’s can be picked from here, both in metal industry and in carpentry.
“UIRI had decision making instruments that can take Uganda’s innovation next to the next level,” He said. While in Nkumba University he initiated something called The Nkumba University Innovation Initiative which is purely industrial. Those young people are doing amazing work in innovation. Every University teaching such practical courses such as Engineering, Robotics etc should have the ability to access such facilities to teach their students practical skills and should be able to account for it instead of the wastage of resources happening at the time. He added that Private Sector can’t be entirely handled by policy statements but by stakeholder engagement too. “We have got to get a good marketing team that are well trained and can ably approach these industries,” He added.
Professor Charles Kwesiga uploaded the Presidential CEO Forum for its initiative of working closely with Private Sector in the bid to bridge the gap between government and the public hence uplifting the country’s economy. He explained the stages of technological development that include: subsistence farming, mechanized agriculture, industrialization and a technology driven knowledge economy. The growth in the industrial revolution right from 1784 which involved mechanization, water power, steam power, the 2nd in 1870 that involved mass production, assembly line and security. The 3rd Industrial revolution in 1969 with computer and automation. We now have reached the 4th Industrial revolution which is breaking the urge cyber physical systems. This shows the steady growth of Uganda’s innovation by the years, there has been a tremendous growth in the Industrial sector.
According to the global ranking of The Human Development Index that measures key dimensions of human development, Uganda stands at 0.544 with a rank of 159 GNI @Capital of 2,134 USD. The main technologies driving change include: Artificial intelligence (AI), Block chain, Virtual reality (VR), biotechnology, robotics, 3D printing and IOT. The major pillars of industrialization that guide UIRI’s work include: Enterprises, Human capital, affordable financing, available market and above all Entrepreneurship. Some of the works done at UIRI include solid works that are used to develop mechatronics systems from beginning to the end. This software is used for planning, visual ideation, modeling, feasibility assessment, pro-typing and project management. There are key essential skills for the 4th Industrial revolution and these include: the complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making and service orientation.
Prof. Charles highlighted that anyone that goes through training at this facility should be employable anywhere in the world. The tags people for the facility include those coming from A level sciences, Engineers, carpenters and so many others. The facility has the capacity to accommodate over 160 students on wards. “We are not creating viable enterprises because we are not embracing appropriate technology,” He said. The Namanve manufacturing and machining center‘s objectives for the project include; development of a model machining and manufacturing facility that employs state of the art technologies. It focuses on manufacturing precision machine parts and progress to implement and eventually make machines.
The UIRI project was launched on 25th January, 2018 and commissioned by His Excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. The Uganda Industrial Research Institute has an equipped operationalization home in Namanve Industrial Areas. It is now working the dream towards industrialization, import substitution, export promotion and technical skilling of our youths to fill the gap in the job market closer than ever. UIRI’s current strategic plan (2020/21 to 2024/2025) has its theme: leapfrogging the 3 industrial revolution s and preparing for the 4th. UIRI’ vision (since becoming a Center of Excellence in 2013) has been to build capacity so as to engage in contract research activities which it continues to work towards. Uganda’s Vision 2040 meeting SDG’s eliminating poverty and attaining middle income status, can only happen through enhanced technology use.
“Starting small is inevitable, staying small is inexcusable” this continues to be UIRI’s guiding principle in undertaking industrial projects. This Namanve project as envisaged will be a game changer for manufacturing in the region. The era of the 4th Industrial Revolution is here, and this Namanve based project is the vehicle through which our country can lead our region to be participatory in that area.
The Presidential CEO Forum seeks to work hand in hand with Private Sector and The Uganda Industrial Research Institute by making good use of the facility thereby ensuring the increased numbers of skilled people in the industrial sector thus growth of the Ugandan economy.