Import Substitution, Productivity Acceleration, and Infrastructure Innovations: STI Team’s Successful Meeting with Innovators

In a significant step towards fostering innovation and driving economic growth, the Science, Technology, and Innovation – Secretariat (STI) team convened a productive meeting with two sets of ingenious innovators; the meeting identified aspects that have a potential of boosting local industries, increasing productivity, and reducing the reliance on imports. The two visionary innovators were Samuel Nyakana and Magara Abdu Tebusweke; Samuel is spearheading innovations in the fields of electrical systems and biomedical devices while Abdu is making of innovative leather products.

Amagara Leather Company’s Innovative Leather Products

Amagara Leather Company, under the leadership of youthful innovator Magara Abdu Tebusweke, is developing innovative leather products of everyday use including leather designer bags (ladies handbags, backpacks, men’s bags, etc), laptop leather holders, belts, wallets, sandles, bottle holders, ear rings, among other items. Specializing in tailor-made leather products, the company has demonstrated a deep commitment to creating high-quality, locally-produced leather goods and leather accessories; some of these have a life span covering over 70 years. The products of Amagara Leather Company have been appreciated by both the local market and export market. The innovator, Abdu, got the idea of making leather bags from his previous business of hawking second hand imported bags in Kampala and he is enthusiastic about growing his leather manufacturing business. He presented a request for STI support to further improve the product quality and production capacity through automation of his production process.

STI -Secretariat team displaying the locally made bags from Amagara Leather Company

Innovation of an Energy Transformation System and Fluid Pulse Machine

Samuel Nyakana Musiza, an Aeronautical Engineer, showcased two innovations which include a Synchronized Reluctance Variable Generator System for energy transformation and a Fluid Pulse Machine. The STI team lauded Samuel for his interest in innovation of energy and health devices that are useful in society promoting energy access and health service delivery. About the Synchronized Reluctance Variable Generator System prototype presented by Samuel, the meeting highlighted the need for Samuel to focus on enhancing power efficiency of his product. Samuel has already filed for a patent registration with URSB and ARIPO for his Synchronized Reluctance Variable Generator System. The STI team committed to conducting a physical assessment of the technology and analyze its potential for application.

Another notable innovation presented by Samuel Nyakana Musiza is the Fluid Pulse Machine, a multifunctional medical ventilation system, which is designed for patient care. He presented the system layout and the STI team encouraged the innovator to continue with the next phases of the Research and Development journey, recognizing the potential to positively impact healthcare on a large scale.

Empowering Local Leather Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

While applauding the leather innovations put forth by Amagara Leather Company, the STI team also identified key areas where support and intervention are needed. One notable challenge highlighted by the innovators is the lack of locally-produced accessories and tools, such as buckles and other small components. This gap in the supply chain has led to a heavy dependence on imported accesories of high value which is hindering the growth and sustainability of the local leather industry.

In response to this challenge, the STI-Secretariat team proposed a multi-faceted approach. Firstly, the team emphasized the importance of standardizing products and designs, which would facilitate mass production and automation of various stages of the production line. Furthermore, the team recognized the potential of supporting import substitution efforts by building capacity for local manufacture of the leather products accessories, thereby reducing reliance on imports and stimulating local production.

Magara Abdu Tebusweke, the driving force behind Amagara Leather Company, highlighted his aspiration to increase productivity and expand the volume of his products marketed locally and also exported. He expressed his desire for greater access to working capital and improved infrastructure to support the growth of his leather products manufacturing business. Furthermore, he voiced the need for both local and international outlets to showcase and sell the company’s innovative leather products.

A Path Forward: Collaboration and Progress

The STI team’s meeting with Amagara Leather Company has paved the way for a collaborative journey aimed at realizing the full potential of this innovative leather products manufacturing initiative. By addressing challenges related to local production of accessories, automation for improved production capacity, and market access, the team envisions a future where Ugandan made innovative leather products stand out on the local and global marketplace, realizing import substitution and contributing to driving the national economic growth.

As Uganda continues to make strides in the fields of Science, Technology, and Innovation, initiatives like the leather manufacturing, energy access systems and biomedical device solutions can be underscored as contributing to the nation’s agenda of creating a self-reliant and technologically advanced future, ultimately propelling Uganda to new heights as a hub of innovation and excellence.

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