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UGANDA: Innovators showcase aircraft, tractor as science week starts

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Mr Alex Kamugisha, a tech instructor at the International University of East Africa, said they are 80 percent done with making a real electric tractor, following a prototype they developed earlier.

KAMPALA UGANDA | The National Science Week (NSW) started on November 6 with local innovators showcasing at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds several products and technologies they said they have manufactured or created.

The products and technologies they are showcasing include; aircraft, electric tractor, vehicles, motorcycles and tricycles, herbal medicines, diagnostic tools and progress updates on vaccine and drug development, robots, software and computer applications.

Dr Monica Musenero, the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said Ugandan innovators would interact with around 70 investors whom they have invited for the NSW 2023.

A tricycle on display at the National Science Week 2023 on November 6.

The Science Week, the minister said, is running up to November 11, with about 300 locally made products expected to be exhibited.

“One of the biggest challenges we have discovered is that many of our innovators reach somewhere and they can’t get enough money [to continue with their venture]. Government doesn’t have enough money, so this year, we are mobilising investors as the rest of the world does it,” Dr Musenero said in Kampala.

“Our expectations have been exceeded. Seventy (70) top-notch investor firms are going to be with us. That is going to address the biggest challenge, of funding,” she added. Mr Innocent Mugabi, the lead developer of the aircraft being exhibited in Kololo, said their team of five people started by making drones. 

“So far we have made three aircrafts. This one we are showing today is a short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft. It can be capable of lifting off in sixty feet (18 meters) –you get airborne,” he said.

“It is more of a composite aircraft. It is made of metal -we use some aluminium and wood. We started working on this in 2021, towards December,” he added.

Mr Mugabi said their aircraft are still being developed for research purposes. 

“But we shall eventually do for selling. We are in Jinja and also have a branch in Kampala (Kamwokya). We have some airfields in eastern Uganda [where we test the aircraft] because we are still forming a relationship with [Uganda] Civil Aviation [Authority],” he said.

Mr Disan Ssekyeru, a team member, on the other hand, said: “We started making aircraft around 2015. We so far have skyboy1, skyboy2 and we also have drones prototypes,” he said.

“The aircraft is basically a one-passenger plane to get the real picture of what you are dealing with because starting big means a big budget. We decided to start with something manageable,” he added.

Mr Alex Kamugisha, a tech instructor at the International University of East Africa, said they are 80 percent done with making a real electric tractor, following a prototype they developed earlier. “It will be able to do ploughing, sow seeds and spray against crop pests. It also has a camera that can take pictures and share to your email or social media apps,” he said.

“You can use a driver or make it automatic. You can send it to the garden to work automatically, you can use your phone to guide it, remotely.

We are still working on it. It is 80 percent complete. We still don’t know the price. It has taken us about one year and we expect it to be done by next year,” he added.  


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