The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has rolled out an ambitious plan to build six new industrial and business parks.
Authority sources say that the parks will be located in Jinja, Nakasongola, Arua, Buliisa, Gulu and Lira districts.
The drive to breathe more life into private sector investment will also benefit from government’s plan to secure an additional Shs 500 billion to complete Kampala Industrial and Business Park (KIBP), Namanve.
According to a strategic plan that will run until 2021, the parks will promote Uganda as a destination for profitable investment, business and innovation.
It is anticipated that the resulting investment could create an estimated 1,000,000 (one million) jobs by 2021.
The UIA strategy follows President Museveni’s directive to fast-track development of the 22 gazetted industrial parks countrywide as a means to accelerated industrialisation, job creation, wealth growth and inclusive development.
Already, Kiira Motors Corporation is extending electricity and water to the Jinja Industrial and Business Park where their vehicle plant is to be situated.
The contribution to employment is estimated at over 850 jobs in the start-up investment phase. At full-scale operation, 2,000 jobs will be created directly and over 12,000 indirectly.
The authority also plans to develop four regional Science, Technology and Industrial Parks (Stips) over the five-year period.
Each Stip will house a “German-model multi-skills development centre” to offer broad-based, multi-disciplinary and hands-on training in various industrial and technical fields.
The objective of this German model of vocational education and training is to produce ‘industry ready’ skilled graduates.
UIA has also proposed four regional Israeli-model agribusiness technical and vocational skills institutes. Central Uganda’s institute will be located in Nakaseke District. It will focus on crop agriculture and animal resources value chains.
Eastern Uganda’s is planned for the border of Katakwi (Teso sub-region) and Napak districts (Karamoja sub-region). It will teach dryland agriculture with irrigation and animal resources value chain.
The Northern Uganda institute will be located in Rhino Camp, Arua District on the banks of the River Nile. UIA sees aqua-culture (commercial fish farming), apiary (commercial bee keeping and honey production), and citrus/fruits value chains being taught here.
In Western Uganda, Kabarole District has been selected to host the school dealing in livestock and diary value chain.
Financing for these regional centres will tap into Shs 500 billion innovation fund set up by Museveni, according to UIA. The agribusiness and vocational institutes are expected to feed into the industrial parks in their respective regional catchment areas. They will admit young people with qualifications right from ‘O’ levels, certificates, diplomas to degrees.
Training and mentoring in both the German and Israel models centres is expected to take between 1-2 years. Both should be operational by 2019/2020, according to UIA with at least 500 students at the opening. Over 2,000 skilled graduates are being projected by 2021.
This new blue-print hopes to make Uganda a profitable hub and destination for investment. It is based on the country being a land of entrepreneurial and innovative people.
International goodwill towards Uganda is to be harnessed by UIA through global strategic partnerships with China, South Korea, Israel and Singapore to ensure that this plan to accelerate industrialisation is achieved.