The Finns are supporting a project in Tanzania aimed at spurring hardware development businesses starting this year, and the project implemented through Tanzania Science and Technology (TANZICT) is focusing on 3D printer development through an innovation hub based in Dar es Salaam.
”Hardware product development is part of innovation process we are now focusing from next year. We see it as a revolutionary field to explore,” says Mnyampi. “We have a lot of materials locally, but there is an absence of infrastructure. Innovation should be focused on creating infrastructure.”
And perhaps the most interesting part of the project is a plan to make use of highly plentiful materials in the area.
TANZICT says easy access to bulk e-waste in Tanzania could mean that production costs will be reduced. They say innovators in what’s called Buni are gearing up to develop their 3D printer skills after some intensive training. Their plan? To make a commercial device with modern capabilities themselves.
“We want to focus more on production of hardware and prototypes that can be used reliably at industrial level and communities,” says Jumanne Mtambalike, the manager of the hub at Buni.
A group called ‘Make Fellows’ meets weekly to take part in guided and mentored sessions on 3D printer technologies and other various other hardware concepts.
“They discuss user needs and that is where our ideas arose,” says Mnyampi. “There’s a lot of electronic waste around, why don’t we make use of it?”
About three years ago, a study by the Cleaner Production Center (CPC) said that Tanzania will generate close to 9,500 metric tons of e-waste from computers alone, so the development team are certain they won’t run short of opportunity.
“Without the support from Finland, we wouldn’t be here,” said Mnyampi.
The Head of Cooperation at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Tanzania, Kati Manner, is also pleased with the way the Finnish-funded projects are progressing, and says they’re critical to a three-year development strategy plan for Tanzania.
“We have several programs, and this will form a major part in achieving sustainable economic development,” Manner says. “Most of the programs here work closely with the government and discuss priority areas, and the Tanzict technological projects are key among them.”
As 3D printing technology becomes less complex and expensive, projects are popping up around the globe aimed at exploring ways for the process to impact local economic development. Do you know about any such projects? Let us know in the 3D Printing Technology in Dar es Salaam forum threat at 3DPB.com.