Fruitful cooperation as China, Uganda celebrate six-decade ties
Fruitful cooperation – A month into 2022, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and TotalEnergies of France made the much anticipated 10-billion-dollar Final Investment Decision, a detailed plan to begin producing oil in Uganda for market. On October 18, 1962, just nine days after Uganda gained political independence from the United Kingdom, this was a sign of the growing connections between Uganda and China.
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda announced to the nation and the world on February 1 that once the first oil begins to flow in 2025, the revenues would be used to accelerate the country’s economic development, particularly in the transport and energy infrastructure sectors. The event was held at the national ceremonial ground, Kololo Independence Ground, in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
The Bank of Uganda, Uganda’s central bank, and other organizations’ economic experts have suggested that effective use of Uganda’s oil earnings can hasten the country’s economic progress and lift millions out of poverty.
Months into 2022, drilling operations have begun in oil wells along the western region of the nation’s shared lake with the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Lake Albert). At the Kingfisher oilfield, which is owned by CNOOC, Chinese drilling specialists have already arrived with their Ugandan counterparts. The Tilenga oil fields, which are owned by TotalEnergies, are also undergoing construction. Through the Tanga seaport in Tanzania, a 1,445-km crude oil pipeline with a 3.55 billion dollar projected cost will be built to carry the oil to the world market. According to Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, in addition to providing goods and services, the oil project is expected to provide about 160,000 jobs.
According to Jiang, “African brothers have resisted immense pressure, carried China to the United Nations, and always strongly backed China in preserving its lawful rights and interests and core interests on international platforms.”
According to Oliver Wonekha, Uganda’s ambassador to China, China has been a key player in the development of Uganda’s energy and transportation infrastructure. The country’s primary international airport, Entebbe International Airport, is being expanded with funding from China. Additionally, China provided funding for the construction of the road between the airport and Kampala, the country’s capital. According to the ambassador, China provided funding for the construction of the Karuma and Isimba hydroelectric plants, which helped Uganda address its severe energy shortage and a key growth roadblock.
According to a research titled “Chinese Enterprises Social Responsibility Report 2022,” Chinese enterprises in Uganda are improving ties between the local and Chinese communities through their corporate social responsibility initiatives.
The survey, which gathered information from 21 of the 129 member companies of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Uganda, showed that these businesses had aided the neighbourhood by, among other things, hosting clinics, providing scholarships, and improving schools.
In addition, starting on December 1, China granted up to 98 percent of Ugandan products duty-free access to the Chinese market as a result of the eighth ministerial FOCAC session. China committed to increase the list of items that the least developed countries with diplomatic ties to it would receive zero tariff treatment for in order to import 300 billion US dollars worth of goods from Africa over the following three years.
The president of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Uganda, Chen Zhuobiao, speaks on February 1, 2022, in Kampala, Uganda. Xinhua/Zhang Gaiping