UGANDA-CHINA RELATIONS STRENGTHENED: Naava Nabagesera

China has in the recent past aggressively directed billions of dollars worth of projects to Africa with Uganda being one of her strong partners. With a growing number of major infrastructural partnerships such as the recently commissioned Entebbe Express Way and ongoing Karuma Hydro Power Dam works a testament of both quality and timely execution by Chinese contractors, the future is bright.

It therefore comes as no surprise when on Thursday, President Yoweri Museveni together with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jingping put hand to paper and signed three bilateral pacts to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries. This came on the last day of a four day state visit to China in which he was accompanied by First Lady and Minister for Education and Sports Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Works Minister Monica Azuba and other officials. The agreements included an agreement on economic and technical cooperation worth 200 million Yuan, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative which will benefit from the $60 billion announced by President Xi for projects all over the African continent during the recently concluded Forum of Africa China Cooperation  (FOCAC) Summit. The third and final agreement signed was on emergency humanitarian assistance worth 70 million Yuan.

President Museveni thanked his host for continuously strengthening ties with Uganda  through infrastructural, humanitarian and economic support through partnerships such as the expansion of the Entebbe International Airport, Karuma and Isimba power projects among others. He went on to thank the Chinese government for the support it renders firms running projects in Uganda which he emphasized is the driving factor behind their success. President Xi Jingping appreciated Uganda's participation in the FOCAC Summit and went on to reiterate his government's commitment to work with Uganda.

Chinese investment in Africa has cut across all major sectors including agriculture, energy, transport and communication and Uganda's youthful population is a magnet for investors who not only see potential market but also labour. The peace and stability Uganda has enjoyed in the past couple of decades also continues to be a major factor driving foreign investment sky high every year. The onus is on Ugandan entrepreneurs, service providers and skilled personnel to position themselves strategically to tap into this financial stream