The technical cooperation between China and Uganda has achieved remarkable achievements, especially in the training of Ugandan technicians since early 2001 when the Chinese government sent an expert team to Uganda.
According to incomplete statistics, at least 690 of Ugandan technicians have been trained so far by the experts from China Light Industrial Corporation for Foreign Economic and Technical Cooperation (CLETC). The efforts of these Chinese experts not only made the trained Ugandan technicians more professional, but also pushed forward the development of Uganda's industrial technologies.
The tangible results of training a number of technicians of urgent need for Uganda industry in nearly three years, comes partly from the advanced scientific and technological equipment supplied by the Chinese government to the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) which located in east suburb of Kampala, capital of Uganda.
Chief of Chinese expert team Xu Changhe, senior engineer of the CLETC, said that the institute set up with the help from China has become one of the best equipped industrial research institutes among African countries.
The UIRI now has a complete set of equipment for food and ceramics research, including seven complete production lines for fruit juice processing, fresh milk pre-treatment and sterilized milk, yogurt, ice cream, milk powder, bread, and plastic cups; and also a ceramics processing demonstration plant; a food laboratory formed by microbiology, physics and chemistry, as well as high precision instrument rooms; a silicate laboratory formed by ceramics and cement test rooms; a mechanical maintenance workshop; and other utilities like boiler house, sewage treatment station, and so on.
Dr. Charles G. Kwesiga, executive director of the UIRI told Xinhua that "the construction of the UIRI by the Chinese government is a clear manifestation of the Chinese involvement in the development of Uganda."
Kwesiga, who is also special presidential assistant on production and competitiveness, thanked the selfless assistance provided by the Chinese government to Uganda.
"Most of the aid given by governments or donors has strings attached, but for the Chinese it is different. This shows China's care for humanity," he said, adding that "the Chinese people have been very generous with us as Africans, they constructed this institute without any strings attached."
He also praised the training work in the institute, saying that "it has helped our staff to apply the knowledge they got from schools to practice. Individuals are now able to carry out their duties with minimum supervision."
The UIRI was built with the aim to play a role of pioneer in industrialization, adaptation and popularization of advanced technologies, train personnel for research institutes and enterprises, push forward the progress of national industry.
"At present, the number of staff has increased to 42 persons, out of which, 24 are specific researchers, 18 represent persons of other different types," he said, adding that "up to the October, this year, 33 specific technical persons of the total Institute staff have been trained successively, among them eight trainees in three specialties have been to China to participate a short term technical training courses," according to Xu.
Another essential condition for the successful training was that among the Chinese technical team members there are experts of different specialties like physics, chemistry, microbiology, food industry, ceramics, plastics, electricity, mechanics and refrigeration.
With great enthusiasm to help Africa in developing economy they came from afar to Uganda for technical training, which included theoretical lessons and operation practices both in the laboratories and workshops, and transferring technical knowledge and skills to local trainees.
The trainees, with exception of the staff of UIRI, include 176 members of community groups and small scale enterprises, 163 researchers of food science, physics and chemistry, as well as 240college students in different majors.
These trained specific technical personnel have played an important role in industry development of Uganda.
Since late 2001, as UIRI researchers having mastered the basic techniques after trained by the Chinese experts, the UIRI has been undertaking the test and determination of raw materials and products for local manufactures that engage in meat processing, soft drinks, dairy and pharmaceutical, among others. The institute has also granted technical guidance and technological assistance to the society, resolving difficult technological problems for Ugandan enterprises, helping them with quality control of the products. The UIRI researchers thus have contributed a great deal to the development of light industry in Uganda.
Further more, the Chinese experts have not only trained technical persons for Uganda but also trained 111 technicians from other African countries, such as Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2003)