The Monitor (Kampala)

13 March 2008

Uganda: Bicycle Phone Charger Launched

Kampala — PEOPLE living in rural areas without electricity will no longer have to travel miles to re-charge their mobile phones. A new telephone bicycle charger has been introduced.

The locally designed charging system is aimed at mostly helping people in villages, where there is no electricity, to have easy access to charging services.

This is another innovation that has seen the bicycle take on more roles than just being ridden.

Eng. Asasira Buga, the Chief Engineer of Bugatech, a mobile phone repairing company and Mr Goddie Odongkara, a city businessman, yesterday unveiled the system in Kampala.

They said the system named 'Mobile power' comprises of a dynamo (power source for the light of a bicycle), power accumulator and circuits where car chargers of 'any type of phone' are plugged to charge.

"After moving throughout the country, I discovered that many people in rural areas do not buy mobile telephones due to lack of charging systems. But the idea will increase mobile telephone use among people," Mr Odongkara, who initiated the idea said.

He said the system that can charge eight phones per hour of riding a bicycle would cost bicycle owners Shs65,000.

"The mobile power stores energy in its power accumulator that can charge more phones for another 30 minutes. This is business to phone chargers and telecommunication companies in terms of airtime and connections," Eng Asasira said.

The bicycle-mobile phone charging initiative comes only weeks after the launch of the waragi bicycle.

Last month, Lira Municipality Member of Parliament James Akena launched a 50CC engine that uses local waragi mixed with petrol to power an ordinary bicycle.

The engine is the first of its kind in the country and enables the bicycle to move without pedalling.

The system has been designed to suit low income earners who cannot afford solar energy and have no access to hydro power lines.

Bicycles are also used by local people to sharpen garden tools and knives countrywide.

According to Eng Asasira, a telecommunication engineer, the system will provide a fresh avenue for employment for rural people.

"This is job creation because the making of the charging system requires a number of people to come with different parts. The people selling airtime for the various telecommunications and those to invest in the chargers at all levels will be employed," Eng Asasira said.

Mr Odongkara said the system would help to ease the growing communication between the urban and rural people.

"Telecommunication companies are competing for the market in towns, leaving the potential market in the rural areas. This is a tip-off now for them to partner with us to be able to market their products," Mr Odongkara said.

Eng. Asasira and Mr Odongkara have appealed for support and partners to enable them fund the production of more machines for market.

"We want telecommunication companies and other development partners both local and international to join us to develop this work to an advanced level for the good of our country," Eng. Asasira said.

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