Establishing technology, innovation and business incubation facilities will help them further develop their technologies and business models.
There is no doubt that commendable progress has been made towards skilling the Ugandan labour force. However, the country still faces substantial skills gaps in key sectors and areas of the economy most especially craftsmen, technicians and engineers.
In addition, there is an apparent mismatch between academic skills imparted in science, Technology and engineering (STE) graduates and the required skill set on the labour market. This has led to high levels of graduate unemployment, leading to underemployment and lengthy transition periods from academic institutions to the workplaces. Government is currently undertaking large scale infrastructure projects, such as standard gauge railway, oil pipeline, power / energy projects, road construction, to propel Uganda’s development agenda and competitiveness.
However, there has been very low participation of Ugandan nationals in the design and implementation of these projects due to lack of requisite skills, equipment as well as able and reputable Uganda companies. A few Ugandan scientists and innovators have developed brilliant ideas that have failed to take-off due to lack of support mechanisms, namely: lack of adequate technology, lack of skills and capacity to acquire and use processing equipment.
The NDP III whose theme is “Sustainable Industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and wealth creation”, seeks to strengthen Uganda’s Competitiveness for Sustainable Wealth Creation, Employment and Inclusive Growth. And the national Vision 2040 states that “Government will set up science and technology parks, engineering centers, technology and business incubation centers that meet international standards. Under NDP III Programme 18 – Innovation, Technology Development and Transfer Programme (ITDTP), all agencies within the sector will work towards developing requisite STI infrastructure; building human resource capacity in STI, strengthen Research and Development capacities and applications and increase development, transfer, and adoption of appropriate technologies and innovations.
In response to this, the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology is implementing the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhancement Project to enhance the technological and skill base of Ugandans to participate in strategic national infrastructural projects and manufacturing industries
Effective implementation of such projects will achieve the desired objectives of having modern S&T infrastructural centres to enhance STEI Skills development and promote STEI based enterprise development among graduates, craftsmen, technicians, engineers as well as other scientists and innovators.
Establishing technology, innovation and business incubation facilities including workspaces and common-user facilities for scientists and innovators will help them further develop their technologies and business models.