President Museveni yesterday concluded his four-day State visit to China with bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
The two heads of state also witnessed the signing of three memoranda of understanding between Uganda and China on cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, economic and humanitarian cooperation.
President Museveni was accompanied to the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by First Lady Janet Kataha, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Works minister Monica Azuba, Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, Finance minister Matia Kasaija, and other officials, including the SGR coordinator, Mr Perez Wamburu.
By press time, it was yet unclear whether the agreement on infrastructure contained any details relating to the multi-billion dollar Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which has been a subject of controversy in recent months.
Ms Azuba in an interview from Beijing last evening referred Daily Monitor to Mr Kasaija who was unavailable for a comment as he was reportedly airborne.
President Museveni, according to sources familiar with the matter, has been in recent months directly involved in discussions on the project, and had hoped to secure financing for the first section of the railway line during the visit to Beijing to attend the 7th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit.
Uganda and Kenya first agreed to construct the SGR in 2008. The two governments agreed to construct China Class One standard, whose design classification, according to the Chinese standards, is one with annual passengers/freight traffic volume for near-term, which is more than or equal to 20 metric tonnes.
Uganda’s first phase of SGR, the (eastern) line running from Malaba to Kampala, about 273km (or 338km rail length), is expected to cost $2.3b (Shs8 trillion).
Kenya is constructing the 120km line from Nairobi to Naivasha at a cost of $1.7b (Shs6 trillion) to be followed by the 266km line from Naivasha to Kisumu Port at $3.6b (Shs13 trillion) while the 107km line connecting to Malaba will cost $1.7b (Shs6 trillion).
The first phase of Kenya’s SGR line running from Mombasa Port to the capital Nairobi at $3.8b (Shs13 trillion), was commissioned last year and is operational.