Africa gets second phone manufacturing company in Uganda
London, Nov. 23, 2019 (AltAfrica)-A second phone manufacturing company in Africa has opened for business in Uganda
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.
The Ugandan company comes over a month after Rwanda’s Mara Group launched two smartphones describing them as the first “Made in Africa” models and giving a boost to the continent’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub.
The Mara X and Mara Z use Google’s Android operating system and cost 175,750 Rwandan francs ($190) and 120,250 Rwandan francs ($130) respectively.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni inaugurated the factory, located in the central Ugandan district of Mukono.
The factory was opened after Ugandan 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.
Ugandan president, Yoweri 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.
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 phone manufacturing company is targeting the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Tanzania.
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.