By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has joined forces with the country’s military to build 25 industrial parks by 2025, it announced last week.
The partnership was announced at a meeting between Robert Mukiza, director-general of the UIA, and Lieutenant General James Mugira, managing director of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the business arm of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.
The aim is to create 400,000 jobs a year through industrial development. The announcement follows a speech in June by Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, that set a target of constructing five state-funded industrial parks a year.
It is also an element in the longer-term Vision 2040 initiative and the Third National Development Plan, which relies on industrialization to raise Uganda’s standards of living.
UIA currently operates eight publicly owned business parks in the country and supports five private ones.
The plan calls for the building of four centres dedicated to science, technology and innovation. These are planned for Pakwach in northern Uganda, Kyankwanzi in the centre of the country, Kamuli in the east and Rubirizi in the west.
Mukiza said the partnership with NEC and the army’s engineering brigade was aimed at fast-tracking construction of the parks and reducing their cost. According to Mukiza, the use of army labor would reduce construction costs by 70%.
As well as providing a site for domestic industry, the parks are intended to attract foreign manufacturers and investors. The economic aim, apart from generating employment and revenue, is to promote import substitution and exports and create opportunities for technology transfer to build up Uganda’s industrial base.