With the shift of the automotive industry towards climate-friendly solutions, electric vehicles have been taking center stage and Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC), a state enterprise for automotive manufacturing, was spawned by an extra-curricular activity endorsed by the Makerere University Faculty of Technology to focus on this demand. In 2011, KMC made history to global renown when it designed and constructed the first-ever electric vehicle in Africa, the Kiira EV. It was consequently awarded the prestigious Frost and Sullivan Visionary Innovation Leadership Award in Sustainable Mobility in 2016.
There is a lot of sourcing of materials locally for the construction of the Kiira Vehicle Plant, but more importantly, this project is being undertaken by Ugandans.Paul Isaac Musasizi, CEO of KMC
Through the championing of the domestic automotive value chain for job and wealth creation, KMC’s vision is in line with Uganda’s industrialization plans and Vision 2040. Under the visionary leadership of the President of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, in 2018, the government approved a Seed Fund to capitalize Kiira Motors Corporation for the construction and operationalisation of the Kiira Vehicle Plant on 100 acres of land at the Jinja Industrial and Business Park. The Plant in its first phase will have an installed capacity of 22 vehicles a day (5,000 a year) and in mid-2021, it will be rolling out the production of its Kayoola EVS electric buses, another first for Africa. The Kayoola EVS, a premium zero emission bus, is designed to facilitate a total sustainable mass mobility solution for urban centres in sub-Saharan Africa. Two buses are already running as staff shuttles for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority between the capital Kampala and Entebbe International Airport.“There is a lot of sourcing of materials locally for the construction of the Kiira Vehicle Plant: cement, structural and reinforcement steel, iron sheets, sand, etc.” explains Paul Isaac Musasizi, KMC’s CEO, who has recently been added to Bloomberg’s ‘Ones to Watch in 2021’ list for his trailblazing innovation in manufacturing. “But more importantly, this project is being undertaken by Ugandans.” Uganda’s vast wealth of minerals is key to manufacturing vehicle parts and is poised to boost value addition while reducing the nation’s import bill. KMC has acquired 1,280 acres of land in Kayunga for the establishment of the Automotive Industrial and Technology Park to support the localisation of auto parts and the establishment of auto skilling and testing facilities. This provides an opportunity for strategic investments aimed at the localisation of key vehicle parts targeting the regional market. Uganda’s vast wealth of minerals used for the manufacturing of vehicle parts has massive potential to boost value addition saving on the nation’s import bill by US$450 million annually, the second highest value on Uganda’s import bill, as well as promoting the exportation of products in the East African Community (EAC) markets and beyond.
The extent of KMC’s inventiveness and innovation has continued to prove boundless. In 2020, in a bid to provide the critical care needed during the pandemic, the Corporation also developed the low cost and locally manufactured Bulamu Ventilator in collaboration with the Makerere University, Resilient Africa Network and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Musasizi affirms, “We are very excited about what this means about opening up possibilities for medical device manufacturing in this country.”
Through the development of green mobility technology, Kiira Motors are building the foundation for a knowledge-based economy while developing indigenous innovation projects, which are people-centred and kind to the climate. “Kiira Motors Corporation Uganda is part of the journey towards ensuring that a good percentage of the 10 million vehicles sold annually in Africa by 2030 are made here, while emphasising they should be clean energy mobility solutions. In this way, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to an enhanced environment in which we can move Africa to its rightful destination.”