Debt trap rumour intended to derail Uganda, China friendship - envoy

Jun 29, 2022

Lizhong explained that all loan agreements including that of the Entebbe International Airport expansion and upgrade project are voluntarily signed by both parties after friendly consultations.  

Zhang Lizhong the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda. (Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo)

Cecilia Okoth
Journalist @New Vision

China will not ensnare Uganda into a debt trap, Zhang Lizhong the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda has said. 

Lizhong was referring to theories mostly made on social media on the ongoing Entebbe International Airport expansion and upgrade project being funded by China. 

“I can assure you that debt trap is fabricated talk and it will never happen as long as China is here. I want to emphasise that China-Uganda’s cooperation has always observed principles of openness, transparency, respect, equity and mutual cooperation,” Lizhong said. 

Lizhong explained that all loan agreements including that of the Entebbe International Airport expansion and upgrade project are voluntarily signed by both parties after friendly consultations.  

He reiterated that the project has no hidden agenda or hidden terms of political conditions attached to the agreement and that no assets are linked to this loan agreement. It is purely sovereignty-guaranteed loans provided by China’s Exim Bank. 

“We noticed some discussions on loans and agreements and I can tell you that these terms of loan agreement conform to the international practices and conventions in the international financial market. So, the debt trap is fabricated by certain people intending to derail the friendly cooperation between China and African countries,” he said. 

Lizhong explained that should there be an extreme case of debt default attributed to some reasons such as economic difficulties or management of finance, China always resorts to dialogue and friendly consultations with the parties. 

“It never happens that China confiscates any assets because of debt default by developing countries,” he said.  

Nine years ago, China proposed the belt and road initiative which has become a public product between China and African countries including Uganda. This initiative has brought real benefits to both China and African countries.  

Lizhong was briefing journalists on the latest updates in China-Uganda friendly relations, including progress in practical cooperation at the Chinese Embassy in Kololo on Tuesday evening. 

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Uganda. 

China and Uganda established their diplomatic relations on October 18, 1962. This was nine days after Uganda gained independence.  

Over the past 60 years, both countries have forged unbreakable fraternity through the struggle against imperialism and colonialism and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in the journey toward development and revitalization.  

Together, China and Uganda have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance amid complex changes and set a good example for building a stronger China-Africa community of shared future in the new era. 

To commemorate the 60th anniversary, the foreign ministries of China and Uganda, and both embassies in Kampala and Beijing will run a series of activities under the theme, “60 years of Strategic Friendship and Cooperation between China and Uganda towards a Shared Future in a New Era.”  

Notable among the activities is a partnership between Vision Group and the Chinese Embassy that have launched the fifth My China Story Essay Competition. The competition opens up a platform for the Ugandan public and diasporas in China to share their encounters visiting, living, studying and working in China, or experiences working or trading with Chinese companies or nationals in or out of Uganda. 

There will also be a direct flight from Uganda to China in the near future which will be another highlight of the anniversary celebrations. All will be crowned with a reception slated to take place in October this year. 

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