Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Ruparelia Group To Build UMEA Apartments, Shopping Malls At Kibuli Mosque

Uganda Muslim Education Association (UMEA) has awarded Vcon Construction, a company owned by Ruparelia Group, a deal to construct several housing projects at Kibuli Mosque.

Vcon construction, which emerged as the best bidders out of 14 other companies that expressed interest, will be undertaking the project through a joint venture with Ambitious Construction Company limited.

Rajiv Ruparelia the managing director of Ruparelia Group during the groundbreaking ceremony thanked Prince Kassim Nakibinge and the management of Uganda Muslim Education Association for giving Ruparelia Group an opportunity to showcase its competence.

“Ruparelia Group is extremely grateful for this opportunity to illustrate our competence and capability to deliver a high quality and standard development," Mr Rajiv said.

Residential and commercial buildings will be built on 5 acres of land donated by Prince Nakibinge to benefit the Kibuli community. Rajiv said the project will be completed in a period of one year.

Prince Kassim Nakibige while addressing the media at his home in Kibuli congratulated Ruparelia Group for having emerged as the winner of the bidding process and said that he is sure they are going to produce the best quality work.

The project, valued at UGX38 billion is funded by IsDB Bank, Saudi Arabia under Supervision of Dolsar Limited.


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Huawei Ceo Ren Zhengfei Vows Never To Give Up The Ideal Of Globalization

Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei has pledged to stick to a globalization strategy despite external pressure. He has called on the new US administration to come up with more open policies that are in the interests of US companies and the US economy as a whole. 

These are the first public remarks the founder of Huawei has made since the change of the US administration. Ren was speaking during a press briefing in Taiyuan, the capital city of China’s northern Shanxi province, after launching the Intelligent Mining Innovation Lab. 

“Trade benefits both sides. Allowing US companies to supply goods to Chinese customers is conducive to their own financial performance. If Huawei's production capacity expands, US companies could us sell more. It's a win-win situation. I believe the new administration will weigh these interests as they consider their policies,” said Ren. 

Ren stated that Huawei creates value to the whole ecosystem and wider economy. He cited the example that Huawei has built 5G networks in many cities in Europe, Asia and Middle East, and its networks in Europe top global network performance tests, benefiting all the users on those networks. 

“The fact high-end users can use the iPhone 12 to its fullest effect on our 5G networks in Europe is a testament to the quality of our networks,” said Ren. 

“As humanity keeps making progress, no company can develop a globalized industry alone. It requires concerted efforts around the world,” Ren added. 

The United States government has been campaigning against Huawei in the past two years alleging Huawei’s equipment could be used to spy on Americans, without presenting any evidence. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claims, and few other countries have given in to US pressure, with most focusing on ensuring all vendors meet technical standards to security. 

Ren said he is now even more confident about Huawei's survival than he was. “We have found new and more ways to overcome our challenges. Our sales revenue and profits in 2020 were higher than the previous years,” Ren told journalists. 

Enabling digital transformation for industries 

Ren said new strategies include research and development and growing deeper roots in vertical industries around the world to enable the digital transformation with its Huawei’s core ICT capabilities. Ren said the Intelligent Mining Innovation Lab would result in better services for mines with 5G.

“By supporting the mining industry, we can grow our business and support more efficient and safer production in mines. We can also enable coal mine workers to ‘wear suits and ties’ at work” Ren said. “In the 5G era, connecting businesses is the main goal. There are many industries that we are not too familiar with, like airports, ports, coal mining, iron and steel production, automotive manufacturing, and aircraft manufacturing. That's why we built joint labs to learn more about the needs of these industries.” 

Huawei’s business results for the first nine months of the year 2020 showed that, revenue totaled 671.3 billion yuan ($98.57 billion), up 9.9% from that of the same period in 2019. 

“We'll continue serving our customers well by creating more value for them. We want them to have lasting faith in us, and we hope that they won't sway because of political pressure,” concluded Ren.


Uganda Launches $500,000 Capacity Building SMEs Project Along The EACOP Route

The Government of Uganda through the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) has launched a $500,000 project to enhance the capacity of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) targeting businesses along the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) route.

The project is funded by a grant from the African Development Bank (ADB). The grant was provided in response to a request from Uganda and Tanzania for assistance in preparing local business communities to be able to retain a portion of the $3.5 billion investment in the construction of the EACOP.

The pipeline will start in Hoima in western Uganda, traverse ten (10) districts in Uganda and go through Tanzania to the coastal town of Tanga. 

The project’s overall objective is to help develop capacity of local Uganda MSMEs along the EACOP, by enabling them to access new market opportunities, and building linkages with larger, national, regional and international companies.

The project aims to support inclusive private sector growth and the creation of an estimated five hundred (500) jobs along the pipeline.  

The project was launched in Mubende district by Mr. Emmanuel F. Mugunga, who represented the Permanent Secretary, MEMD. Mr. Mugunga noted that the EACOP has raised the expectation of a significant economic upturn and creation of jobs.

“However, the reality will be different if local MSMEs do not have the capacity and experience to participate in oil and gas activities. We believe that MSMEs have a major impact on economic growth, income and employment,” he said.

Mr. Mugunga also emphasised that in addition to the technical skills enhancement, capacity building for these businesses should focus on the soft skills like customer care, hospitality, client retention and referrals.

He also noted the need  to address the mind set of the enterprises to appreciate and work towards achieving the specifics needs of the oil and gas project.

The project aims at supporting the communities that will benefit from opportunities presented by the oil and gas industry development and support alternative sources of livelihood to improve their wellbeing.

This intervention is in line with the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Uganda and Tanzania that was signed in 2017 to promote cooperation in the development of the pipeline and enhance participation of the pipeline host communities.

Ms. Juliet Byaruhanga, the Senior Private Sector Officer at ADB who represented the Country Manager re-echoed the bank’s commitment to supporting Uganda actualise her development strategies. She called upon the district leadership and technocrats to provide the necessary support for the seamless implementation of the project.

Mr. Ernest Rubondo, the Executive Director of the PAU, noted that the project is in line with the PAU’s mandate of ensuring national participation by Ugandans in the oil and gas activities in order to create lasting value. The two (02) year project commenced on 17th September, 2020 with the signing of the Grant Treaty between Government of Uganda and ADB and will end in 2022.

The ten (10) districts that will benefit from the project include Mubende, Hoima, Gomba, Kyotera, Rakai, Lwengo, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Sembabule and Kyankwanzi. In her remarks, Ms. Mary Baguma Nyakwera, the Resident District Commissioner for Mubende district acknowledged that the proper implementation of the project will improve household incomes.

“The project success will indeed go a long way in ensuring community development,” she said.


Bunyoro Leaders Ought To Focus On Environmental Leadership

By Sandra Atusinguza

With the commercial discoveries of oil and gas in the Albetinegraben, and the ongoing transition from exploration to development phase and a lot of environmental concerns have been observed and multiple yet to be experienced.

The recently concluded elections for parliament shall present Bunyoro parliamentary caucus with a majority of new leaders representing different constituencies, as a way to promote conservation of natural resources in the Albertine region, the new leaders should put efforts to link leadership and the natural environment.

The leaders' much work together with the parliamentary committee on natural resources and other ley players as oil host members of parliament not to ignore the complex era of environmental and social problems such as the ongoing destruction of forests like Bugoma, climate change evident in most flooded fishing landing sites rivers and wetlands, dry spells and massive destruction of other destructed ecosystems. 

We the voters are now demanding for environmental justice through enacting and implementing relevant policies and laws to safeguard the remaining protected or restore the already degraded ecosystems. The next stages in the oil and gas sector have huge negative impacts on the environment hence leaders must prioritize environmental issues to balance development and environment. 

Bunyoro leaders should lobby from stakeholders on models to promote the conservation of natural resources to enable co-existence of communities, wildlife and developments and also adopt strategies to communicate, understand and collaborate on diverse disciplines and traditions to find lasting solutions on problems of the environment. Environmental challenges might be limitless while resources used to meet the challenges are limited; leaders must prioritize environmental demands and needs of the Banyoro and Ugandans.

Sandra Atusinguza, AFIEGO FIELD-OFFICER 

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