China and Uganda to strengthen political, trade and economic ties

President Xi Jinping’s envoy Yang Jiechi arrives at Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry / TWITTER

China and Uganda will continue working towards strengthening political, trade and economic ties, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

President Museveni spoke on Sunday, February 21, when he received President Xi Jinping’s envoy Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Yang arrived in Uganda on Saturday for an official two-day working visit from February 20-21 at the invitation of President Museveni.

According to Uganda Media Centre, the main purpose of the visit was to further bolster bilateral relations between the two countries, which have been elevated to the status of Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.

In his speech, Yang, who is also the director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, conveyed President Xi’s cordial greetings to Museveni and congratulated him on winning re-election in the presidential election.

“Your Excellency, your reelection last month speaks volumes of the trust and support from the people of Uganda to your continued presidency. On behalf of China, once again, I want to express our warm congratulations to your reelection and we wish Your Excellency and the people of Uganda success in realising greater success on Vision 2040,” Yang said.

Conveying his congratulatory message on February 5 following Museveni’s controversial win on January 14, Xi said he attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties, and stands ready to work with the Ugandan leader to make the China-Uganda comprehensive cooperative partnership deliver new outcomes to better benefit the two countries and peoples.

Yang echoed this, saying China supports Uganda in its development path and stands ready to work with the East African country to further deepen political mutual trust, enhance development strategies and expand practical cooperation within the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.

He also added that the two states would cooperate in implementing the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and push the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new height.

The visit follows Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi five-nation tour of Africa, visiting Nigeria, DR Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles from January 4.

This, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, was in line with the ministry’s 30-year diplomatic tradition of paying New Year visits to Africa.

This year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit, scheduled to take place in Dakar, Senegal, was said to be foremost on the foreign minister’s agenda.

CHINA-UGANDA RELATIONS

Relations between Uganda and China were established in 1962.

Trade between the two nations totalled over $1 billion in 2017.

Chinese companies have contributed significantly to the building of infrastructure in Uganda. Chinese construction companies have won contracts for many major infrastructure projects, such as the Mandela National Stadium and the country’s largest hydroelectric dam at Karuma Falls. More recently, Chinese companies are in charge of the construction of an express highway connecting the major city of Entebbe to the capital, Kampala.

China owns about 20 per cent of Uganda’s debt, equivalent to about $1.6 billion. Each has a diplomatic mission in the respective country.

The two nations have signed multiple cultural cooperation agreements, exchanging student and medical teams. Relationships between the two nations have been strengthened by a policy of non-interference in political affairs.

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