Uganda Investment Authority Director General who was represented by Martin Muhangi the Deputy Director-Investment Promotion said that the partnership signifies a great commitment and the enhanced effort to harness the abundant investment and business potential between of the two countries
He revealed that since the establishment of the embassies for the two countries, the Foreign Direct Investment from China has been growing exponentially.
“In the FY 2020/2021, China was the 2rd runner up to Uganda in the number of licensed projects and planned jobs. UIA licensed 71 projects from China, with 5,351 planned jobs. The value of the planned projects were worth USD 159bn”. said Muhangi.
He informed that China’s huge Investment in Uganda’s Industrial sector is also playing a key role in Uganda’s economic development. The establishment of Chinese owned industrial parks across the country is a sample and evidence of China’s contribution.
These include: Liao-shen Industrial Park in Kapeeka,Uganda-China (Guangdong) free zone of International Cooperation in Sukulu, Mbale Industrial Park, China-Uganda, Kehong Agricultural Industrial Park .
Other major manufacturing entities that have provided significant benefits to Uganda include; Shandong Industry in Luzira and Tian-Tang Industry in Mukono.
He cited that the industrial parks have made significant contribution to the industrialization of Uganda and created more than 80,000 employment for Ugandans and Chinese. This is a win—win for both countries
“In terms of Economic relations, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to which Uganda belongs was established following a meeting between 53 Head of states and the Chinese Leadership in Beijing”. Muhangi quoted.
“The forum established a program of cooperation between African countries and China in areas such as Investment, financial cooperation, debt relief and cancellation, natural resources, energy, education and multilateral cooperation. This cooperation has made great development on Uganda’s economy”. he added.
In terms of trade between Uganda and China, the volume has grown and is estimated over $1.07 billion by 2021.
China provides duty free and quota free access to its market for least developed countries and this has created an opportunity for Ugandan traders to export to China due to its large market and incentives.
China has also played a role in Uganda’s major infrastructural projects in areas of transport, energy and Information technology including the construction of Entebbe Express Highway which has reduced the time and cost of doing business in Uganda.
It now takes 30 minutes to drive from Entebbe Airport to the Kampala City compared to more than 2hours on other motorways.
With funding from Chinese Government, Uganda has been able to construct a number of roads across the country thereby improving the transport infrastructure and cost of doing business in Uganda.
China’s funding of projects in Uganda’s energy sector has also addressed the issue of power outages and high power tariffs that initially affected Uganda’s industrial sector/manufacturing sector.
Key among the Chinese funded energy projects are; Karuma Hydro power plant and Isimba hydro power plant with over 600 Megawatts.
Both China and Uganda have signed multiple cooperation agreements, exchanging students, medical teams among others all meant to help Uganda build her human capital.
Uganda has become one of the biggest beneficiaries of China’s foreign training programs. Since 2016, Ugandans have been availed the opportunity to attend China aided training courses and Seminars in China.
The Chinese Government has sponsored so many Ugandans to study in China through Chinese Government scholarships and further established an Institute at Makerere University to support Ugandans to learn the Chinese language.
These interventions have fostered cultural exchanges, promoted unity, trade and investment between the two nations.
In addition, the China Uganda South to South cooperation is a major pillar in the bilateral relationship between China and Uganda and continues to be the leading channel through which large Chinese Agricultural Investments are attracted to Uganda including establishment of high value agro-Industrial parks.
Under this framework, agricultural experts from China visit Uganda periodically to promote agricultural development.
The benefits of China-Africa cooperation are abundantly clear. There has been a deliberate implementation of the eight initiatives under the FOCAC program and mechanism.
The FOCAC process provides a unique diplomatic mechanism to promote dialogue between China and Africa at large while at the same time facilitates the development of a common political and economic agenda that advance mutual benefit. Uganda has benefited significantly under this program.
The win-win approach which is embedded in this bilateral cooperation is instrumental for enhancing investment and trade.