The Ugandan Ambassador to China, Oliver Wonekha, has said the bilateral relations between the two countries gave birth to tangible achievements.
Wonekha was speaking during a Webinar organized as part of the activities to commemorate 60 years of friendship between China and Uganda.
“It is my wish and hope that the participants of this dialogue will endeavour to further the relationship between the two countries by identifying opportunities that can promote a mutual cooperation for the benefit of our two peoples, especially investments in major key sectors like Oil, Mining, Agroprocessing, Infrastructure, ICT, Housing, and Services,” Wonekha said.
The theme for this year’s anniversary is, 60 Years of Strategic Friendship and Cooperation Between Uganda and China Towards and a Shared Future in a New Era.
Below is Wonekha’s full speech.
It is a great honour and gives me pleasure to address you on behalf of the Government and People of Uganda during this Webinar Conference as one of the activities to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between The Republic of Uganda and The People’s Republic of China.
The 60 years of friendship have seen the cordial relations between our two countries grow from strength to strength with tangible achievements to show for it.
I wish to extend my utmost appreciation to the organisers of this Webinar Conference that has brought together both Ugandan, and the Chinese communities including friends of the two countries across the world as we celebrate Great friendship.
Distinguised Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On October 18, 1962, just nine days after Uganda gained independence, China and Uganda established formal diplomatic relations. The year 2022 marks an important milestone in the history of the relations between China and Uganda. History has repeatedly testified that Uganda and China are good friends who stand by each other’s side through thick and thin. In 1971, Uganda supported China’s accession to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The theme for this year’s anniversary “ 60 Years of Strategic Friendship and Cooperation Between Uganda and China Towards and a Shared Future in a New Era” clearly reflects our friendship over the past 6o years and also beckons hope for the next 6o years and more of stronger relations between our two countries.
China, over the past 60 years has become one of Uganda’s largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment in major sectors that include infrastructure, construction, mining and quarrying, manufacturing and trade.
The government of Uganda doesn’t take for granted the role the Chinese government has played in the economic growth of Uganda especially the continued effort to industrialize Uganda and the fight to eradicate poverty by promoting trade; investment; tourism promotion; cultural exchanges; and Technology transfer between the two countries and creating an enabling socio-economic environment for businesses to prosper.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uganda's diplomatic relations have always been cordial with H.E Yoweri Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda visiting China four times with his latest visit being in June 2019 which resulted in both countries elevating the relations to that of the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership which is an opportunity for deep cooperation in a wide range of areas with the Chinese government and its people.
In the Economic sphere through the FOCAC mechanism, China has assisted Uganda to move faster on the path of transformation and development.
The Chinese government has financed the construction of some of the major projects in Uganda these include; The six-lane, highway linking the capital city of Kampala to Entebbe International Airport; the construction of Karuma 600MW and Isimba 183MW Hydro Power projects, National Stadium Namboole, a 103 km road linking the western town of Fort Portal to the Democratic Republic of Congo, just to mention but a few.
On Trade relations with China, Uganda’s Economic journey is incomplete without mentioning the role played by the People’s Republic of China. According to statistics by Bank of Uganda as of 2020 trade between the two countries is over USD 1 billion. Chinese investors have continued to invest in Uganda and currently, a number of industrial parks are being developed by Chinese enterprises.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the Agriculture sector, China supported Uganda in establishing the Kibimba rice scheme and through FOFAC the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and rural affairs has signed different MoUs to provide joint working groups to work on the modernisation of agriculture.
Other MOU`s signed by the two countries include; In March 2022 the Social and live hood project to support the Parish Development Model, Funding of the China-Uganda friendship hospital (China continues to provide medical supplies and personnel to Naguru hospital), The twin-city cooperation between Jinja and Shenyang a product of FOCAC, Military cooperation agreements and in the education sector China has continued to offer scholarships opportunities and training to Ugandan scholars.
It is my wish and hope that the participants of this dialogue will endeavour to further the relationship between the two countries by identifying opportunities that can promote a mutual cooperation for the benefit of our two peoples, especially investments in major key sectors like Oil, Mining, Agroprocessing, Infrastructure, ICT, Housing, and Services. As I conclude, Uganda looks forward to China facilitating market access of Ugandan agricultural products into the Chinese market.
Long live our Friendship.
I thank you for your attention.