The planned institute will specialise in all aspects of engineering and infrastructure construction including, operations and management of projects.
Maj Gen James Mugira, the managing director of the National Enterprise Corporation at the signing of MOU in Kampala
A Chinese firm contracted to build the $2.3b Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is to construct a polytechnic institute to train Ugandan engineers and technicians in railway construction.
The establishment of the facility is part of skills transfer commitments from the contractor of the SGR project to help build a pool of local experts in the field by the end of the project.
The planned modern institute will specialise in all aspects of engineering and infrastructure construction including, operations and management of projects.
It will be established at Rubongi, Tororo district and supported by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the contractor of the SGR project.
The training centre will be set up in partnership with the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), the commercial arm of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF).
Wang An, a representative of CHEC and the NEC managing director, Maj. Gen James Mugira signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday, committing to set up the facility and improve local content.
The officials also flagged off a group of 10 Ugandan engineers who will undergo a three-month railway construction training course in China.
The engineers who are from the UPDF will spend three months at a university in Hebei Province supported by CHEC, the contractor of the SGR project.
Construction of the SGR is expected to start once government finalises funding negotiations with China Exim Bank, the main funder of the project.
The SGR is part of a major regional transport project that will link East African cities and suburbs in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In Uganda, the first phase of the project, a 273km stretch will skirt through at least 11 districts between Kampala and Tororo, where it will connect to the same network in Kenya at Malaba border.
Kenya, which has completed the first phase of the SGR project with a 427km line from Mombasa to Nairobi, is expected to extend the line to Malaba under a bilateral agreement with Uganda.
A section of the SGR will connect to the DR Congo through Kasese and Arua districts, to Rwanda through Mirama Hills in Ntungamo district and to South Sudan through Nimule in Amuru District.
Construction of the railway awaits funding from China Exim Bank. An appraisal team sent by the funder left the country last month and is expected to release its findings about the project this month.
As part of their commitment to boost local content, CHEC has agreed to hire local engineers and technicians from the NEC, subject to the fulfilment of the skills requirements.