Economic experts argue that Uganda’s poor road network is one of the major bottlenecks to unlocking Uganda’s economic potential.
Experts said if this poor road infrastructure is addressed, Uganda’s economic potential, owing to its geographical centrality on the Africancontinent, can be unlocked, boostingboth intra-regional trade and domestic trade.
China, like elsewhere on the continent is helping Uganda to unlock this potential.
“According to a Chinese saying, people who want to be rich should build a road first. Chinese companies are playing an important role in the infrastructure development of Uganda,” Zhao Yali, Chinese ambassador to Uganda, said.
In June this year, the Asian country delivered the first batch of road equipment to the Ugandan government as part of a 40-year soft loan of about $106m to boost the country’s road transport.
While receiving the equipment that will be distributed to the various local governments in the country, President Yoweri Museveni said the equipment will help in the construction of major roads.
The equipment included 159 graders, 257 tipper trucks, 12 wheel loaders, six dozers, seven excavators and two low loaders.
Construction of the $350m Kampala-Entebbe Expressway is expected to start soon as the Government, the contractor China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and other stakeholders are going through the final procedural stages.
The funds to construct the 37km road are from a preferential loan from China Export and Import Bank.
The road will link Kampala to Entebbe International Airport. “The main road is about 37 km and the spur road from Kajansi to Munyonyo is about 13km. The road is a standard expressway,” said Zhang Weidong, the project manager. Construction of the road will take five years.
“This road will play a very important role in Uganda’s development particularly in tourism and will ease traffic pressure,” said Zhao.
Another major road linking Fort Portal to Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and then eastern DRC is being upgraded by a Chinese construction firm — Chongqing International Construction Corporation.