China, Uganda in joint pursuit of mutual development, says envoy-Xinhua

China, Uganda in joint pursuit of mutual development, says envoy

Source: Xinhua| 2024-03-30 01:25:30|Editor: huaxia

Zhang Lizhong (C), Chinese ambassador to Uganda, briefs the press and think tanks in Kampala, Uganda, on March 28, 2024. As China continues to pursue its path to modernization, it is determined to cooperate with other nations to build a community with a shared future, the Chinese envoy said here Thursday. (Xinhua/Nie Zuguo)

KAMPALA, March 29 (Xinhua) -- As China continues to pursue its path to modernization, it is determined to cooperate with other nations to build a community with a shared future, a Chinese envoy said here Thursday.

China has been supporting Uganda's development in various fields, including trade, health and agriculture, over the last six decades, said Zhang Lizhong, Chinese ambassador to Uganda, while briefing the press and think tanks at the Chinese Embassy in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

Zhang said within the frameworks of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China and Uganda are working toward win-win cooperation to achieve common development.

Under the BRI, China financed and constructed two hydropower plants, Karuma Hydropower Plant and Isimba Hydropower Station, that are critical to addressing Uganda's increasing energy needs, and facilitating its industrialization.

In addition to supporting energy infrastructure development, China has helped Uganda enhance its connectivity to the world through Entebbe International Airport, which has been expanded to accommodate increased passenger and cargo traffic. Furthermore, China has played a crucial role in constructing the Entebbe-Kampala Expressway, significantly reducing travel time between Kampala, the capital city, and Entebbe by half.

Construction of these mega energy and transport infrastructure has not only provided employment opportunities but has also facilitated the transfer of skills and knowledge, according to Zhang. Thousands of Ugandan people got jobs, and some are now engaged in private business after gaining skills from the projects.

Bilateral trade continues to grow at a fast rate. Zhang said the two countries have witnessed an increase in trade volume for seven consecutive years. Ten years ago, bilateral trade volume was around 600 million U.S. dollars and by the end of 2023, it grew to 1.3 billion dollars, of which Uganda's exports to China increased 19 percent to 70 million dollars, according to the embassy data.

"China is committed to opening its market wider for Uganda's quality products," Zhang said. He noted that during the China International Import Expo last November, Ugandan companies signed deals to supply 30 tonnes of roasted coffee and another 29 containers of green coffee beans to their Chinese counterparts.

China continues to play a leading role in investing in Uganda, especially in the areas of agro-industry, manufacturing, oil and gas, and industrial parks among others. The embassy data show that in 2023, China's foreign direct investment in Uganda reached 55.7 million dollars. China National Offshore Oil Corporation alone has invested more than 3 billion dollars in the country's oil projects.

China continues to support Uganda in the provision of health care. In 2012 China donated a 100-bed hospital to Uganda to reduce the pressure exerted on Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala and surrounding health units. Zhang said China plans to provide a fund of more than 5 million dollars to renovate and expand the hospital. According to Uganda's Ministry of Health, the government plans to turn the hospital into a national trauma center. Furthermore, China has been sending medical teams to Uganda to help improve its medical services since 1983.

The ambassador said that China last month dispatched a new batch of anti-malaria drugs worth 1 million dollars to Uganda to further support efforts in fighting the deadly disease. This support comes at a time when international donors are reducing funds for Uganda's malaria control.

During the interactive session with the media and think tanks, Chinese enterprises in Uganda, including Huawei, China Communications Construction Company, and Power China also highlighted their efforts to accelerate the country's development.