By Taddeo Bwambale and John Semakula
The Chinese Government will this year offer 40 scholarships for talented Ugandan students to pursue education in China.
Chinese ambassador, Zhao Yali made the pledge at a media reception held at the Chinese embassy in Kampala on Tuesday.
“In order to strengthen capacity building of Uganda, Chinese government offered about 40 government scholarships for young Ugandan talents and 404 slots of training courses for Ugandan government officials in various sectors,” he stated.
The event was attended by the foreign affairs permanent secretary, Ambassador James Mugume and media personalities including editors, writers from several media houses.
The envoy hailed ties between Uganda and China, noting that close cooperation between the two countries was growing stronger.
He pledged that his country would always support Uganda’s industrialization process, and assured Uganda of assistance with ‘no political strings attached.’
“China will always regard the Ugandan people as good friends and brothers, and in future, we will stick to the friendly policy towards Uganda and deepen the close cooperation of our two countries,” he said.
He said both countries would maintain mutual trust on issues of each other's core interests, and uphold co-operation in infrastructure, energy, education and health and communication sectors.
Last year, the amount of bilateral trade between Uganda and China reached $538m (sh1.3trillion).
The number of Chinese firms registered to do business in Uganda has also risen 310, between 1993 and 2012, with planned investments worth $683m.
The estimated number of Ugandans employed by Chinese companies now stands at 33,000, according to the Uganda Investment Authority.
Last year, a total of 45 Chinese enterprises registered in Uganda and the amount of planned investment reached $86m.
The value of planned investments in Uganda has also doubled to over $15m, since the first quarter of this year, while more Chinese investors are exploring new business opportunities.
Among several major projects financed by the China in Uganda include: oil exploration by the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC); construction of the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, purchase of over 1,400 municipal engineering equipment and construction of modern government office buildings and the Naguru China-Uganda Friendship Hospital.