Uganda has signed an agreement with China to receive a technical and economic cooperation grant worth 50m RMB (about $8.2m).
While signing the agreement with Zhao Yali, the Chinese ambassador to Uganda, at the ministry of Finance on Friday, Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said the government would choose between agriculture, infrastructure and human resource development to invest the money.
“The grant will be used for the implementation of projects that will be agreed upon by the two governments in the near future,” Kiwanuka said.
“The country is working to improve household income, the value of exports and improve the skills of our labour force. This money is a step further to achieving that,” she added.
According to Kiwanuka, the grant is a fulfilment of a promise made to President Museveni when he met with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, during the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit in South Africa, earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Zhao has promised China will continue supporting Uganda.
“Uganda is gifted with rich natural resources and plenty of water. We will continue our support,” he said. He added: “There is great potential in Uganda but you haven’t realised that potential and especially now with the discovery of oil. It’s good that CNOOC is already in the sector.”
China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is a state-owned Chinese oil company, awaiting a production licence in the Kanywataba area.
China has already given funds for Naguru hospital, an agricultural demonstration centre in Kajjansi, the Office of the President and built the Prime Minister Towers, acquisition of container scanners for URA, Karuma dam and the Entebbe express highway.
The ministry of Finance says the Chinese government has also provided a concessional loan worth $107m for the national e-government project, and it has also supplied road equipment worth $11m to KCCA.
“…Uganda looks forward to increased cooperation with the Chinese government to implement infrastructure projects in energy, roads, railways…,” Kiwanuka said.
China has offered Uganda’s products quota-free and duty-free access to the Chinese market. The Asian superpower has also given scholarship opportunities to Ugandan students, donated medical equipment and contributed significantly to the country’s ICT network.