The Minister of State for Industry and Technology, Hon. Dr. James Shinyabulo Mutende on the 5th of January 2011 visited selected projects at Makerere University. The main purpose of his visit was to learn more about the initiatives taking place at the University and dialogue with the main stakeholders in these projects in an attempt to find ways of integrating these initiatives into government programmes. Hon. Dr. James Shinyabulo Mutende was accompanied by the Ag. Commissioner Mr. C.J Okulo, the Principal Industrial Officer, Mr. Joshua Mutambi and The Senior Industrial Officer, Mr. Deo Byaruhanga, all from the Department of Industry and Technology, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives. In the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), the Honourable Minister met with two project teams: The Centre for Research in Transportation Technologies [CRTT] (Vehicle Design Project) and the Innovation Systems and Clusters Program (ISCP). Kiira EV” src=”http://CEDAT.mak.ac.ug/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Taking-a-look-at-the-Kiira-EV.jpg” alt=”” width=”250″ />The Honourable Minister, on arrival at CEDAT, first met with the Vehicle design team at the Nile Basin Office, in the CEDAT new building, where he was received by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Prof. Tickodri Togboa, also the Principle investigator of the Vehicle Design Project. Prof. Tickodri then gave the Hon. Minister an introductory overview of the Vehicle Design Project and the Centre for Research in Transportation Technology after which Paul Isaac Musasizi, the Project’s Technical Coordinator, took the Minister through a presentation that captured the technical aspects of the Kiira EV and a step-by-step explanation of the whole design/ development process of the car. In his remarks to the Vehicle Design project team, Hon. Dr. Mutende said “This project has been a very exciting for us. I personally have been following stories of the car in the news, right from the time our students went to first went to Italy to the day the Kiira EV was test driven.” He continued to say that initiatives such as this one are very good indicators of progress in our country. “This gives justification for the increase in pay for scientists and lecturers.” The Honourable Minister then expressed the need to incorporate initiatives such as this one into government programmes and integrate them into the government development agenda. He applauded the Vehicle Design Team on the wonderful work they had done in producing the Kiira EV to completion and vowed to give them a larger audience than himself within government. Hon. Dr. Mutende then was then led to the New Boardroom of the Technology New Building to meet with the Innovation Systems and Clusters Program (ISCP). He was here welcomed by the Principal of CEDAT, Assoc. Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, also the National Coordinator of ISCP. Dr. Nawangwe then gave him a brief overview of the College of Engineering, Design and Technology and the Clusters program. The Chairman of the National Steering Committee ISCP, Dr. Yasin Ziraba, made a presentation to the Honourable Minister, stating the achievements, innovations, collaborations and challenges faced within the clusters program. After this presentation the Minister thanked the project team for the clustering concept and stated that he will keep fostering these projects before the government. He also reassured the team that The Ministry of Trade industry and Co-operatives will work very closely with CEDAT to see that such initiatives are supported. The meeting ended with the principal thanking the Honourable Minister for his visit and stated that his visit has opened a door for close relations between the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives and The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology. The ISCP was formed in 2005 and is Co-ordinated by CEDAT. It is a program that aims at making Uganda’s businesses more competitive locally and globally, through innovations as well as Cluster initiatives which bring together geographically co-located firms. Since its beginning in 2005, ISCP-U has seen its number of clusters grow from 7 to 24 and the number of trained facilitors has increased from 50 to 310.