BY MOSES SSERWANGA
In concerted effort to push Uganda to a middle income economy by 2020, the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has rolled out an ambitious strategic plan to build and complete six new Industrial and Business parks.
The six (6) new Industrial and Business Parks will be located in Jinja, Nakasongola, Arua, Buliisa, Gulu and Lira districts. Government has also committed to secure an additional Ug. Shs 500bn to complete the Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP), Namanve. According to the UIA five-year strategic plan which will run until 2021, the Industrial Parks are meant to promote Uganda as a destination for profitable investment, business and innovation to create an estimated 1,000,000 (one million) jobs by 2021.
The UIA strategy and the mission to develop these parks follows President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to fast track development of the 22 gazetted Industrial Parks countrywide, as a means to accelerated industrialization, create jobs, wealth and ensure inclusive development for the entire country in line with the NRM Manifesto 2016-2021.
Already, Kiira Motors Corporation is in the process of extending electricity and water to the Jinja Industrial and Business Park where their Vehicle Plant is to be situated. The contribution to employment of the Vehicle Plant’s establishment is estimated at over 850 jobs from the Start-Up Investment. At full-scale Plant Operation, over 2,000 jobs are estimated to be created directly and over 12,000 jobs created indirectly.
The Authority also plans to develop four (4) regional Science, Technology and Industrial Parks (STIPs) during the 5-year period. Each regional STIP will house a “German-model Multi-Skills Development Center” to offer broad-based, multi-disciplinary and hands-on training in skills and trades in various industrial and technical fields--along the German model of vocational education and training. The objectives are to produce "industry ready" skilled graduates.
UIA has also proposed another four (4) regional Israel-model Agribusiness Technical and Vocational Skills Institutes. Central Uganda’s Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located in Nakaseke District-Luwero Triangle. It will focus on crop agriculture and animal resources value chains. Eastern Uganda’s Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located on the border of Katakwi District (Teso sub-region) and Napak District (Karamoja sub-region). It will focus on dryland agriculture with irrigation and animal resources value chain.
Northern Uganda’s Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located in Rhino Camp, Arua District on the banks of the River Nile. It will focus on Aqua-culture (commercial fish farming), Apiary (commercial bee keeping and honey production), and citrus/fruits value chains. While Western Uganda’s Israel-model Agribusiness Skills Institute will be located in Kabarole District and focus on livestock and diary value chain.
UIA seeks to tap the Ug Shs 500bn Innovation Fund set by President Museveni for the four (4) regional Science, Technology and Industrial Parks; German-model Multi-Skills Development Centers, and the Israel-model Agribusiness Technical & Vocational Skills Institutes. And the Authority has projected Ug. Shs 20 bn over 5 years for the German and Israel models Technical and Vocational Skills Centers.
The German-model Multi-Skills Development Centers will anchor and provide “Industry-ready” skilled graduates, especially for the regional Science, Technology and Industrial Parks. Meanwhile the Israel-model Agribusiness Vocational Institutes will feed into the Industrial Parks in their regional catchment areas. They will admit young people with qualifications right from ‘O’, ‘A’ levels, BTVET, diplomas and those with degrees.
The idea is to have as many youths with a diversity of qualifications as possible to benefit from these proposed world-class Skills Development Facilities, UIA sources said.
Training and mentoring in both the German and Israel model Skills Centers/Institutes are expected to take between 1-2 years maximum. UIA expects both the German and Israel BTVET models to be operational by the third year 2019/2020 and each model is expected to admit at least 500 students at the opening, and develop over 2,000 “Industry-ready” skilled graduates by 2021.
This new blue-print is geared at making Uganda a profitable hub and destination for investment. It is in turn predicated on Uganda as the land of entrepreneurial and innovative people.
UIA will also harness the international goodwill towards Uganda through global strategic partnerships with China, South Korea, Israel and Singapore to ensure that the objectives of its new strategic plan for Industrial Parks development to accelerate industrialization is achieved.
The writer is a Media and Communications Consultant/Trainer and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda
This article can also be found at: msserwanga.blogspot.com