Get on the bus

Uganda bets on a dual manufacturing and public-transport revolution

By Musinguzi Blanshe

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on April 23, 2021 19:33

Screenshot 2021-04-23 at 12.32.37 PM Kiira Motors’s Kayoola Diesel Coach © Kiira Motors Corporation
Kiira Motors’s Kayoola Diesel Coach © Kiira Motors Corporation

What started as a student’s project in 2007 at Uganda’s Makerere University, has progressively transformed into an automobile manufacturing plant.

Kiira Motors, a government-owned automotive enterprise is set to assemble 1,030 buses by end of 2021.

But the success of the plant depends on having a market for its products. That is where the government comes in. It has banned the importation of buses and awarded a contract to little-known local company Tondeka to run a bus rapid transit for the capital city, Kampala.

The bus system will in the long term include the creation of bus stations and devoted lanes for buses to give them an advantage over the traffic-clogged streets.

Kiira’s beginnings

Kiira Motors received almost $40m in seed funding from government in 2018 to begin manufacturing. With this fund, it is finalising construction of a manufacturing plant in Jinja, 85km east of Kampala. The construction is being undertaken by the National Enterprise Corporation, a commercial arm of the Ugandan army.

Kiira Motors say will start

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime