By Ronald Ssekandi KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua)
-- The year 2018 ends on a good note
for Uganda as the east African country eyes more financing and
investment from China.
After the 2018
Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in
early September, the Ugandan cabinet quickly formed an
inter-ministerial committee to strategize on how the country can
dovetail with China’s major initiatives to enhance cooperation
with Africa backed by a 60 billion U.S. dollars’ pledge over the
next three years.
inter-ministerial committee is now looking at bankable projects
that it can share with China for financing.
Days before the
Beijing summit, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told Xinhua in
an interview that the country was focusing on infrastructure
development and attracting more investment from the Asian
“We are likely to
advance the project of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that is
in the government-to-government (talks),” Museveni said.
Experts say the SGR
will reduce the cost of transport and spur economic development.
The railway line is expected to reach the border areas with
Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo from
the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa.
Over the past
several years, Uganda has been touting infrastructure
development as a key ingredient in fast-tracking its economic
To finance the
infrastructure development agenda, Uganda looked at China
because of the country’s favorable lending terms compared to
some of the western global financiers.
Mid this year, the
Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, linking the capital Kampala to
Entebbe International Airport, the country’s gateway to the rest
of the world was completed. China financed the construction of
the mega road project, the first of its kind in the country.
China is also
financing the expansion of Entebbe International Airport.
Official figures show that after completion of the first phase
of the expansion, the cargo center can handle up to 150,000
metric tons of goods, compared to the previous 69,000 metric
In the northern part
of Uganda along River Nile, the world’s longest river, China is
constructing the 600MW Karuma Hydropower Plant. While touring
the facility in July, President Museveni said he was amazed by
the progress of the works, noting that the plant will not only
address Uganda’s inadequate power supply, but also youths have
been skilled through the construction process.
River Nile, in the central Ugandan district of Kayunga,
construction of a Chinese-funded 183MW Isimba Hydropower plant
is near completion. According to the Chinese engineers on site,
power generated by the plant is expected to come onto the
national grid early next year.
argued that the inadequate and yet expensive power was hindering
the country’s economic development. The two power plants of
Isimba and Karuma, when completed, are expected to address
Uganda’s inadequate power supply.
Uganda is among the
top four investment destinations for China in sub-Saharan
Africa, according to the Chinese embassy here. The Foreign
Direct Investment (FDI) from China to Uganda was 219 million
dollars in 2017. Investments from China contributed over 40
percent of the total FDI in Uganda in 2017.
To attract more
investors, the Ugandan government has adopted an
industrialization policy. It has designated over 22 industrial
parks across the country where investors can set up base, taking
advantage of the incentives that come with establishing their
factories in the parks.
investors have taken this up and some have even set up their own
President Museveni launched the first phase of a 620 million
U.S. dollars Chinese industrial project in the eastern district
The project, dubbed
Uganda-China Free Zone of International Industrial Cooperation,
undertaken by the Dongsong Energy Group, will manufacture glass,
steel and organic-fertilizers, creating about 3,000 jobs at peak
when completed in 2020.
About 40 km north of
Tororo district, Museveni in March this year launched another
Chinese-owned Mbale Industrial Park. The park owners, Tian Tang
Group, said it will attract more than 30 investors with a total
investment of about 600 million dollars and an annual output
value of 1.5 billion dollars. The park will directly employ
about 12,000 locals.
220-million-dollar Kehong China-Uganda Agricultural Industrial
Park, is another park that Uganda says will play a critical role
in transforming the country’s economy.
Almost 80 percent of
the country’s population derives its livelihood from
agriculture, according to government figures.
operational, Kehong China-Uganda Agricultural Industrial Park is
expected to produce about 600,000 tons of agro-products annually
to meet the domestic and regional market demands.
It will also create
25,000 jobs as well as availing opportunities of training for
the local people, according to the managers of the park.