Made in Uganda A tag so hard to find and so Hard to appreciate. What’s the techs take on this phrase?

#TGE (We cry out for the Government to help us)

The government may be wondering why not so many Ugandans appreciate the good coming out of the motherland. But the real problem is not that many Ugandan entrepreneurs are not trying their best to give us their ideas neither their products. Besides what we are known for always calling on the government always to help us going by the infamous phrase “tusaba gavumenti etuyambe” (yes there is a twitter handle and hashtag for that as well), Ugandans are also known for being entrepreneurial. So many businesses have sprung up, but there is a growing problem of such businesses not making it to their first birthday. But what could be the problem? How can it be solved? What is the way forward? So planning bodies are probably asking themselves all these questions with no practical answers. Is the tech scene spared from this growing problem?

Why do we always have to embrace the foreign brands?

It’s hard finding Ugandans embracing local brands though the tech scene is seeing few Ugandan players pooling their efforts to give us some products we are proud of. It’s slightly killing this misconception we have about everything Ugandan. This reputation not only affects the brilliant ideas that would transform our society, but also deprives us of development. The good said but again the other side proves a threat to this infant industry as we always embrace foreign brands, it’s a growing problem not only facing the tech scene, but also elsewhere and this will lead to the gradual death of what our technological brains have worked so hard to give to the motherland.

The resources that some of our great Universities have equipped with skills. lts no miracle in retail outlets finding foreign brands outperforming local ones as they see massive sales at the expense of our own. On the software front, it’s worse than you would expect. The reception always goes to foreign products and they always get the good reviews from our own. It’s not that they are not good, but Ugandans don’t expect theirs to cope with those coming from out, which is not true. From the different app stores the common ones being Google’s Play Store and Apple’s app store, you will have to agree that though local offerings are within those respective stores, they don’t see massive downloads and usage compared to those from outside basing on the fact that rankings are based on region not on the global scale. The same applies to recommendations.

Potential that can rake in millions

But all this does not mean that there are no recognizable and reputable Ugandan products at the tech front. The success enjoyed by kola studios with their popular local came turned digital “Matatu” is one to reckon with, My Ziki has also proved a success coming in from Code Sync, Ugandan Guide, Ugandan Newspapers and so many Ugandan offerings out there. The biggest question is, will they maintain that momentum?  This will only be answered right if we step in and support our own.

I am not preaching nationalism, but I see the Ugandan tech scene having real potential that can rake in millions and contribute to the nation. The success of the Nigerian and Kenyan tech scenes can be reflective of where I am driving my argument and so can ours. The increased investments in the tech scene are an indicator that the investors are keen and see the potential in us and so they bring their money to us. But they should realize returns on their investments to invest more so our support will be the biggest reply.

The forgotten tech Brands

They are those Ugandan brands that are quickly fading off the scene, they always wore the ‘Made in Uganda’ tag, the likes of Sembule. I am really confident that in today’s Uganda many people cannot tell what that name represented. It’s not that I have lived so long to tell this but it’s just that I read, understood and got to appreciate what such brands represented to our country. Sembule as a group dealt in electronics like television sets, bulbs, radios, telephones and the steel business until financial woes brought the thriving company to its knees. Now the problem is finding other Ugandan companies trying so hard to follow Sembule’s footsteps.

Gayaza electronic works are trying hard to win a spot in the appliance world with their GETS brand and the likes Royal Electronics. Though they assemble the different components to come up with a complete product, they all bear the “Made in Uganda”, I think that’s reason enough to offer our support. I understand many comments will flood in questioning quality, but some of these products have proven superior compared to these imported counterfeits which present harm to us. They pose a bigger security and health risk than locally made products. The fore mentioned names represent small and medium enterprises trying to find their success but with increased local support, I bet they can find their way to becoming big at least on home soil.

Does made in China mean poor quality?

Ugtab is coming in to harness this problem by offering cheap tablets for everyone though their products have been compromised by quality. They are manufactured in China as most of electronics production. So it shouldn’t be a problem us having manufacturing done in China so long us the brainchild remains Ugandan. Take the Apple way the brains behind Apple products are American but production in done in China it being a cheap manufacturing hub due to such incentives like economies of scale and the cheap labor. Green computers on the other hand tried to refurbish old computers and offered them at cheaper prices to the masses and all this Ugandan.

I am done with business and back to the main point as it was a call from concerned parties that actually contributed to this article. Be Ugandan is the slogan but in a good way such that those rants and calls for help become a thing of the past. Our techies lets embrace our own and we get to develop our tech scene.

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