China-Uganda trade doubles

Mr Zhang Lizhong, the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda (right), addresses the media at the Embassy last week. Photo | Abubaker Lubowa

What you need to know:

  • In 2023, China’s FDI in Uganda reached $55.7m, ranking number 17th among all African countries.

The Chinese Embassy in Uganda has pledged more cooperation between China and Uganda under the Belt and Road Initiative and FOCAC Nine Programmes.

The two countries work actively to seek win-win cooperation, strengthen complementary advantages and strive for common development and shared prosperity under the programmes.

Addressing journalists at the Embassy last Thursday, the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Zhang Lizhong, said Uganda has witnessed an increase in trade volume for seven consecutive years.

 “10 years ago, our bilateral trade volume was around $600m. By end of 2023, it grew to $1.3b, of which Uganda’s export to China increased 19.6 percent (to $70m). China is committed to opening its market wider for Uganda’s quality products,” Mr Lizhong said.

He added: “During the week-long China International Import Expo last November, Ugandan companies signed deals to supply over 30 tonnes of roasted coffee and another 29 containers of green coffee beans to their Chinese counterparts. Ugandan Shea butter, chilies, red bean, simsim, fish maw and many other products are getting popular among Chinese consumers.”

Mr Lizhong revealed that China continues to play a leading role in investing in Uganda. He encouraged the Chinese business communities to explore more in agro-industry, manufacturing, ICT, oil and gas, green energy and industrial parks cooperation.

“We believe such investment would present major opportunities to drive Uganda’s inclusive growth and help address value-addition concerns. By end of 2022, in FDI (foreign direct investment) only, Chinese enterprises have invested over 692 million US dollars in Uganda, established several dynamic model industrial parks, and created more than tens of thousands local jobs,” Mr Lizhong said.

In 2023, China’s FDI in Uganda reached $55.7m, ranking number 17th among all African countries.

Apart from the FDI, CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) alone has already invested through the Kingfisher and EACOP projects over $3b while a considerable portion has been invested in local service providers.

Last year in January, President Museveni launched the drilling of oil for commercial production at the Kingfisher Oil Field. This year also in January, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development issued CNOOC the license to construct a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facility on the shores of Lake Albert.

It is expected by launching this project Uganda would soon shift from dependence on biomass to the use of cleaner fuels. We are glad to see positive progress in flagship investment cooperation projects such as these.

Mr Lizhong revealed that China-Uganda development cooperation dates back to 1960s, when the two governments and two peoples witnessed enduring friendship and fruitful results in complete projects (public facilities including but not limited to the Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, the Doha Farm and Irrigation System in Butaleja, and the Mandela National Stadium), goods and materials assistance, and technical cooperation projects.

“In the new era, China will continue to strengthen development cooperation with Uganda by launching more small and beautiful projects targeting at social and economic welfare for the local communities,” he said.

China plans to provide a fund of more than $5m for the Renovation and Expansion Project of China-Uganda Friendship Hospital.

As a symbol of the bilateral friendship, the hospital was built in 2012 to provide specialized free treatments for locals; in 2023, after thorough communication based on a feasibility study field-trip, Chinese government agreed to further finance its renovation and expansion for better medical conditions of the local people.