By Denis Jjuuko

A lot of people argue about the two especially in Uganda. But the fact is that there is no carmaker anywhere in the world that owns the entire process of ‘manufacturing’ a car. Car makers design and determine the performance of their vehicles and go out there and look for parts suppliers in the automotive industry value chain. For example, Force Motors (you have probably never heard of them if you don’t watch Formula One or didn’t know what they do) make engines for both Mercedes Benz and BMW in India. Renault and Nissan engines have been used in Mercedes Benz cars before who may also get them from somewhere else. Takata is probably the world’s biggest maker of airbags as no carmaker (OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer) makes them. Companies like Sony, Pioneer provide car makers with sound systems. There are suppliers for automotive glass, plastics, break pads etc. Pirelli or Bridgestone provides tyres. I can go on and on.

On average a car has 30,000 parts if you include even the screws and most of them come from many parts makers who are all over the world the majority of who you have never heard of.

All taxis in Uganda have their seats made in Kisenyi. Those with bull guards, they are made in Katwe. Exhaust Pipes are made in Kampala and some companies make break pads that may even be installed on the car that you are driving right now. You may not know that btw.

95% of the buses, lorry trucks/trailers you see in Uganda are made in Kenya by guys welding sheets/metal together. These are made in very small warehouses so don’t go around asking where is the VW plant in Rwanda. A car can be assembled even in your compound.

Most things that are made today are a result of collaborations from many parts suppliers. Apple doesn’t own a single factory anywhere in the world where iPhones are made. They design and source parts from wherever. Foxconn assembles them.

Check the zipper on your jeans. If it is labeled YKK, that’s a Japanese zipper maker- the world’s biggest. They only make zippers. Levi’s doesn’t.

What’s the point? Don’t go around saying Uganda or Rwanda aren’t manufacturing cars and argue so much about it. Because no country does.