Employees work at the factory of Engo Holdings Group Limited at Namanve Industrial park in Mukono, Uganda, on Nov. 22, 2019. Chinese electronics company, Engo Holdings Group Limited, on Friday opened a 5 million U.S. dollar factory in Uganda that will manufacture phones and laptop computers. (Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua)
MUKONO, Uganda, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) — Chinese electronics company, Engo Holdings Group Limited, on Friday opened a 5 million U.S. dollar factory in Uganda that will manufacture phones and laptop computers.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni launched the factory, located in the central Ugandan district of Mukono.
Museveni hailed China for the continued support to industrialize Uganda.
“I want to thank the government of China for having a positive policy towards Africa and Uganda,” he said.
He said China helped Africa fight colonialism and most recently it has been involved in infrastructure development and industrialization.
Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Uganda, said industrialization is one of the eight initiatives announced by China during the Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in September last year.
“Accelerating industrialization and agriculture modernization is the common aspiration of African countries to speed up economic transformation, and an important path to reduce poverty and strengthen capacity for self-driven development,” Zheng said.
“China with a complete range of sectors and systems, is able to offer practical technologies, equipment, production and managerial expertise that fit Uganda,” he added.
The factory was opened after government signed a memorandum of understanding with Engo Holdings Limited.
Frank Tumwebaze, minister of information, communication and technology (ICT), said the establishment of the factory shows the growth of the ICT sector in the country.
He said the domestic manufacture of the devices will reduce the country’s import bill and also scale up the export earnings.
He said the factory will make affordable devices, noting that local application developers will have the opportunity to have their innovation installed on the gadgets.
Zhou Yuqing, Chief Executive Officer of Engo Holdings, also known locally as Simi, said the factory will first assemble and manufacture feature phones and later move on to smartphones and laptops.
He said the factory will start manufacturing the devices when the local staff acquire the skills.
The factory is the first phase of a 15 million U.S. dollar investment, and the company expects to create about 500 jobs by 2021.
Zhou said apart from the domestic market, the company is targeting the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Tanzania.
Simi will be the first phone and laptop making factory in Uganda. It already has a factory in Ethiopia targeting markets in Cameroon and Morocco.
According to National Information Technology Authority, a state-owned agency, there are about 22 million mobile phone subscribers in Uganda. It says the sector is growing at 27 per cent per annum.