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The government of Uganda through the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and with support from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is implementing the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhancement Project (NSTEI-SEP) to enhance the technological and skill base of Ugandans to participate in strategic national infrastructural projects and manufacturing industries.

This investment is in line with Vision 2040 agenda of setting up science and technology parks, engineering centers, technology, and business incubation centers that meet international standards, and in an effort to enhance the technological and skill base of the Ugandan youth who are out of school, graduates, craftsmen, technicians, and engineers to participate in strategic national infrastructural projects and manufacturing industries.

The  project is establishing the following:

  1. A National Science, Technology and Engineering Innovation Centre (NSTEIC) at Rwebitete - Kiruhura District to enhance the technological and innovative base of Ugandans through a Flexible Factory Learning & Infrastructure Model;
  2. Technology Innovation and Business Incubation Centre (TIBIC) at Kampala Industrial Business Park, Namanve - Mukono District that will act as a platform for technology development through the Process Industry Learning Factory Model, including common user facilities and shared workspaces for scientists and innovators; and
  3. a Technical Service Company to provide the services strategic to the country’s infrastructural and engineering capacity development.

The construction works at both sites are being undertaken by AVIC –INTL Project Engineering Company.
Project Objectives

  1. to enhance the technological and skill base of Ugandan graduates, craftsmen, technicians and engineers as well as instructors through the Flexible Factory Learning & Infrastructure Model using R&D,
  2. re-tool graduates, craftsmen, technicians and engineers and equip them to undertake various infrastructural works
  3. establish technology, innovation and business incubation facilities including work spaces and common-user facilities for scientists and innovators to help them further develop their technologies and business models

The NDP III underlines the criticality of the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation as enablers for science-led growth and all these objectives are in line with the key development strategies (14) and (15) of the NDP III; enhance skills and vocational development and promote science, technology, engineering and innovation as well as ICT.

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes of the project that will provide for technological innovation and absorption are;

  1. retool and skill engineering professionals to drive Uganda towards global competitiveness,
  2. generate technology-oriented business start-ups that will source technical and financial resources and commercialization capabilities required to take their products to the market, and thus create secure new jobs in the process,
  3. Increase competitiveness of Uganda’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector through the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship through STI skills enhancement mechanisms
  4. Improve import substitution and export diversification. Uganda heavily relies on importation of consumer, intermediate and producer goods and yet most of these products imported can be produced locally. The project will significantly contribute to the ‘Buy Uganda, Build Uganda’ (BUBU) and ‘Local Content’ (LC) policies through supporting MSMEs and innovators to develop products that will meet    regional    and    international    quality    and    standards.
  5. establish and improve locally manufactured tool designs. The Project through the established Centers will use the state-of-the-art technologies to design and manufacture machine tools and spare parts to meet the local market demand and for export.
  6. enhanced revenue generation and job creation from technology clusters. They will foster innovation through dense knowledge flows and spillovers; strengthen entrepreneurship by boosting new enterprise formation and start-up survival; enhance productivity, income-levels, and   employment   growth   in   industries; and positively influence national economic performance.

Annually, this project will help over 1,500 people particularly the youth learn skills in priority sectors, including manufacturing, construction, and services for formal employment. It will improve the overall ecosystem of skills development in Uganda by providing integrated services through a science entrepreneurship incubation centre, a career counselling and placement centre, and education technology deployment center. These important functions of NSTEIC and TIBIC will support a network of government technical institutes and develop skills and capacity of polytechnics, engineering, and private skilling centers.

Implementation progress
The Project is implemented in alignment with the Uganda Vision 2040, based on faster, sustainable, and inclusive growth. It emphasizes increasing the supply of highly-skilled workers to drive the economy, as well as helping nascent engineering majors catch up with the relatively more advanced ones in the country.

Civil works
The TIBIC and NSTEIC sites were handed over to the contractor on 26th February 2021 and 30th March 2021 respectively. Subsequently, the contractor completed all preliminary works and construction commenced mid-March and May for TIBIC and NSTEIC respectively. Completion timelines for the TIBIC and NSTEIC are September 2022 and May 2023 respectively

UNCST through the project management team engaged a Supervision Consultant, M/s Imparqt Associates as the project manager for the civil works under the Project. At onset, monthly progress meetings and site visits were planned to be conducted with the project owner, project manager/supervision consultant and contractor, to review progress of civil works, discuss challenges and propose mitigation measures, inspect construction and approve materials for each.

Equipment Supply
A total of 104 units (representing 34%) of engineering machinery under the first batch of engineering machinery equipment was delivered and are under the stewardship of the Project Contractor.

Project Administration

In order to ensure a smooth transition from the construction (civil works) to the retooling phase, the project management team is undertaking the following strategic activities toward the operationalization of the proposed project centers;

  1. Preparation of Operational Plan and Guidelines for the National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Innovation Centre (NSTEIC) in Kiruhura District.
  2. Development of Operational Management Guidelines and Instruction Curriculum for the Technology Innovation and Business Incubation Centre (TIBIC) in Mukono District.
  3. Developing a Training and Instruction Curriculum for the National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Innovation Centre (NSTEIC).
  4. Development of an Integrated Framework for Creation and Operationalization of UNCST Technical Service Company (TSC).
  5. Development and Operationalization of a Framework for Recruiting and Deploying Trainers of Trainers (Facilitators and Technicians) for the Project.

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