- The factory that will manufacture the first mobile phones in Uganda, located in Namanve, east of the capital, Kampala, is managed by the Chinese company ENGO Holdings.
It has an assembly capacity of 2,000 single phones, 1,500 smartphones and 800 laptops a day and as days go by, it will manufacture more.
The production capacity of the plant will change “according to the demand”, and the devices will be marketed under the brand Simi, according to Ares Chow Yu Qing, the director of ENGO Holdings.
Smartphones will be sold in retail at $54 (about 28,900 CFA francs), and normal phones at $8 (about 4,265 CFA francs).
“It’s a big step to bring Uganda into the world of technology equipment manufacturing, but we need to work with the rest of the world in terms of standards and quality to be competitive,” said James Saaka, the director of NITA-U, the regulator of information and communication technologies in Uganda. Manufacturing is one of the priorities of the Ugandan government, and a significant share of investment comes from China.
Last year, Ugandan imports from China reached $ 1 billion. In the same year, Uganda’s exports to China were only $ 32 million, according to data provided by the United Nations.
Note that China is also one of Uganda’s largest financial partners, and its loans mainly finance infrastructure projects: highways, hydroelectric dams, airports, and a railroad linking other countries.