China to strengthen ties with Uganda
Updated: 2013-07-04 02:20
By Li Xiaokun and Zhao Yanrong (China Daily)
Mbabazi said his country expects to deepen partnership with China and looks to greater achievements in the development of ties. Vice-President Li Yuanchao also met Mbabazi on Tuesday.
Uganda has seen tremendous benefits from its relationship with China in recent years, according to a report published in January by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.
The report said China waived Uganda's $17 million debt accrued from loan interest before 2005, and agreed to provide a financial grant of $6.8 million. China also granted tariff-free and quota-free treatment to more than 400 Uganda commodities.
According to figures from the Uganda Investment Authority, the total planned investment from China in Uganda in 2012 was $86.4 million, making China the fourth-largest international investor in the country.
Trade volume was $538 million in 2012, a surge of 34.7 percent from the previous year, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"China has scaled up aid to Africa over the last 10 years, making it a formidable force on the continent. China's assistance — based on friendship, mutual respect and South-South cooperation — is fast, easy and effective," the Jamestown Foundation report said. China is the world's largest developing economy, while most African countries, such as Uganda, are facing the challenges that China has already experienced, said Zhao Yali, China's ambassador to Uganda. "Therefore, China understands those countries and can meet their requirements better," he said.
About 80 percent of young people in Uganda cannot find jobs, making unemployment a major challenge for the country's development, Zhao added.
According to official figures, Chinese enterprises in Uganda provided 28,000 jobs to local people from 1993 to 2011. "More Ugandan students are studying Mandarin. As long as they understand the language, it is easier for them to find a job at Chinese companies," Zhao said.