By Moses Sserwanga
Excited Ugandans lined the streets of Kampala and witnessed the first -colourful -green mobility industrial value chain motor parade .
The motor parade involved Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC Uganda’s automotive industry champion, Tondeka Metro- Bus Service , Zembo and International University of East Africa who are spearheading-electric motorcycle transport in and around Kampala ,other cities and urban centers.
The parade was flagged- off by the Minister of Science , Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President Dr. Monica Musenero . She was accompanied by the Kiira Motors Board of Directors Chairman ,Prof. Sandy Steven Tickodri-Togoboa and the Mr. Fred Senoga a Director at Tondeka Metro Bus Service.
Ugandans used their mobile gadgets-took selfies and recorded the parade which snaked through the Kampala Central Business District -as Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the Science week which is running -November 2-9th ,2021. It was a clear demonstration of Ugandans getting to appreciate the country’s – home developed-green mobility innovations -that include fully electric buses -the Kayoola EVS and electric motorcycles.
The Ministry of Science , Technology and Innovation (ST&I) – Office of the President in partnership with the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is also organizing the Uganda Science Innovators’ Awards to celebrate Ugandans’ innovation efforts and inspire young innovators to activate their abilities and contribute to the technology development of the country.
The Awards ceremony will be presided over by HE President Yoweri Museveni on November 10,2021 at Kololo Independence grounds. The Science week/day is being commemorated under the theme; Theme: “The Future of STI in Uganda: Breaking the Silos and Leveraging Synergies for a Skilled and Sustainable Workforce for National Economic Transformation”.
The Awards have been positioned to align with the National Science Week and the World Science Day for Peace and Development Celebrations commemorated annually on 10th November.
President Yoweri Museveni who is a strong champion for home grown innovations- to offer solutions to local problems will be the guest of honor at the Awards ceremony -where winners will receive cash prizes geared at supporting them to improve their prototypes, register Intellectual Property (IP) and support their incubation leading to commercialization.
The winners of the Uganda Innovation Awards will also enjoy practical three to six months technical training to improve their skills and enhance their capabilities.
Several categories have been identified and earmarked for the awards and these include : Pathogen Economy; Engineering; Mobility; Beauty and Apparel; Digital Economy; and Agro-Security.
Organizers say that these categories were chosen on the basis of the findings from consultative meetings undertaken by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations with government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the identification of priority industrial value chains for Uganda. Twelve winners will be obtained from two age-groups i.e.above 18 (18+) and under 18(>18), one from each category. To showcase the existing scientific innovations (prototypes), human resource, equipment and natural resources in the country for synergy formation to increase productivity through value chain adoption.
The main objectives for the science Week/Day according to Dr. Musenero -is to create awareness about the new STI National Innovations System (Think-tanks, Secretariat, hackathons, value chain, multi-sectoralism, Intellectual Property); to advocate for increased Government and stakeholder collaboration in commercialization of R&D and science education at all levels of learning and to promote domestic scientific literature, publications and books towards a knowledge based economy.
It should be noted that Uganda’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)’s Initiatives on National Science Week (NSW) align with other global countries, including; United Kingdom’s National Science and Engineering Week, South Africa’s Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Week and Australia’s Science Week.
“The Government of Uganda recognizes science and technology as vital drivers for socio-economic development and transformation. This recognition is reflected in the National Constitution , Vision 2040, National Development Plan III, National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020, Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy for Uganda and the National Resistance Movement Manifesto 2021-2026,” the energetic new Minister of STI old the media this week.
This Science week helps the country in the promotion of science, technology and innovation through exhibitions and information sharing.