A micro-industry is emerging in a suburb of capita Kampala as an important source of jobs in a country with one in two unemployed. Silvia Antonioli reports.
Being an ironsmith in Uganda is becoming more common than you think In Katwe, a suburb in the outskirt of capital Kampala a little-talked-about group of skilful metal artisans is breeding. Their micro-industry is providing jobs in a country where more than one in two is unemployed. (SOUNDBITE) (Luganda) INTERN, IVAN SSEMBATYA, SAYING: "I have learnt so much. These people deal in fabrication, they design various machines. So basically I can weld, I can measure and cut, I can also operate the heavy duty machines. I can now design and make the smaller machines." There are about 1-point-5 million metal fabricators in the country or roughly 4 percent of the population. They produce anything from pots and pans, to grain mills and water pumps. They pride themselves in creating products they say are as good as those made in formal manufacturing plants. Some have even managed to grow their metal business into a multi-million-dollar business. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MANAGER, MUSA BODY COMPANY, HAJJI HADAT SSEBUNZA, SAYING: "The reason why you see we are upgrading is because we have confidence in the machines we are making. When you buy a Chinese machine, all in all you come back to us to give you after-sales support. The Chinese machines are not the standard of our country, when you look at our maize it is too hard, it is not soft like Chinese maize. It cannot work here that is why you see we are in the market, we are competing with them because we trust our products and we can give you after sales support." Although the safety standards might still lag those of the developed economies this home--grown sector certainly deserves praise for giving Ugandans an opportunity to grow their economy and improve their lives. Although the safety standards might still lag those of the developed economies this home--grown sector certainly deserves praise for giving Ugandans an opportunity to grow their economy and improve their lives.