Kampala and Beijing have expressed commitment to further strengthen their fifty-nine-year-old relationship through trade.
In a Wednesday meeting between Gen. Abubaker Jeje Odongo, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister and Zhang Lizhong, the new Chinese envoy, they traded ideas on how this can be achieved.
Odongo, who noted that China is now Uganda’s largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), urged the world’s second-largest economy to expedite the clearance procedures of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement for Uganda Airlines to operate direct flights to China.
Uganda's exports to China stood at $39.61 million in 2020, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade while Uganda imported goods valued at $1.35 billion from China in the same period.
Minister Odongo further noted that both countries have exchanged high-level visits and enhanced cooperation in different fields such as implementation of several infrastructural projects (roads, power dams) and development of industrial parks.
China has also donated PPE equipment and offered to donate vaccines to support the fight against COVID-19 Pandemic.
Uganda is also committed to enhancing coordination and consultation so as to implement the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and actively participate in Belt and Road cooperation to achieve win-win cooperation for the mutual benefit of both countries, according to Odongo.
On his part, Zhang noted that both countries are strengthening bilateral ties in the political, security, economic, social, cultural and scientific fields and several Agreements and MoU’s have been signed between Uganda and different China Government Ministries, Provincial Governments and companies in various fields of cooperation in key sector areas of Agriculture, Education, Health, Infrastructural Development, Science and Technology to mention but a few.
Some of the infrastructure projects supported by China include the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, the 183MW Isimba Hydro Power Plant and ongoing construction of the Karuma Hydro Power Plant (HPP), ongoing expansion of the Entebbe International Airport and the National ICT backbone project.