Uganda has exported the first consignment of locally manufactured handsets including smartphones to Morocco.
On Saturday, the consignment of 18000 phones including feature and smartphones manufactured by SIMI technologies, a local company based in Namanve Industrial Park was flagged off by the State Minister in charge of Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite.
Speaking at the function, Anite said described the development a big milestone in the country’s efforts of enforcing import substitution strategy.
“For the first time in the history of our country, we are exporting mobile phones. We have started with Morocco but orders from other countries will soon be secured,”Anite said.
“Not only is this plant contributing to the economic growth and development of Uganda but it is immensely helping in building local capacity through transfer of ICT knowledge and skills.”
She however noted that there is need to increase demand for the locally manufactured handsets by encouraging Ugandans to buy their own.
“Right now, Ugandans can only buy 2000 phones manufactured locally because they buy others imported into the country free of tax. We want to create demand for local products by urging Ugandans to embrace our own products,” she said.
Uganda has over 15.6 million phones currently connected on various networks.
SIMI has the capacity to produce 2500 phones daily but the local market only takes 2000 of these in a month s many prefer to buy imported phones.
According to David Okwere, the SIMI technologies Managing Director, the company plans to bring universities on board so as to develop phone software and apps.
“It is the pride of everyone if software is developed by a Ugandan and installed in a Ugandan manufactured phone. We are looking at working together with Ugandan universities so this can become a training centre for their students,”Okwere said.
He noted that the company is in negotiations with other foreign buyers so as to increase the number of handsets exported.
SIMI technologies is a locally company based in Namanve Industrial Park commissioned by President Museveni in November last year.
At full capacity, the factory can produce 2000 feature phones, 1500 smart phones, 800 laptops, 2000 chargers, 4000 USB cables and 4000 sets of earphones.
The company will also directly employing more than 400 workers.