China has lauded its relations with Uganda, saying over the 60 years that the two countries have had diplomatic ties, the relationship has grown progressively.
Jiang Jiqing, the economic and commercial counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Uganda says China is committed to help Ugandan communities to develop.
Ms Jiqing was speaking during the signing pf a Memorandum of Understanding between Makerere University and China Communications and Construction Company (CCCC) Limited at the University in Kampala.
The MOU was signed at Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) by Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, the Principal of CEDAT, who in his capacity as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration at Makerere, also represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nawangwe. CCCC’s deputy General Manager of Overseas Department, Zhao Wei, signed on behalf of the company.
Jiqing said the MoU, a testament that Chinese companies are not only in Uganda to undertake construction projects but also help the communities develop, was one way of carrying the relations between Uganda and China forward.
“We are not only for construction but also help in capacity building and share knowledge. I therefore encourage other Chinese companies to emulate CCCC to help in capacity building for Ugandans,” she said, urging that more collaborations should be designed between the two countries.
“This collaboration will help extend experience that CCCC has for over 100 years and will benefit the young talent to get opportunity to get skills in the construction industry,” she stated.
She praised CCCC, saying their works are visible all over the country and when she arrived in Uganda two years ago, her first impression was of the works at Entebbe Airport and the Entebbe Express Highway, which are both products of CCCC.
Under the arrangement, Engineering students and staff of CEDAT will receive hands on training from CCCC. The MOU will see the Chinese company provide expert personnel to tutor and impart skills to students of Makerere University from the College.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Zhao Wei, said the company has in the over 100 years of existence and over a decade in Uganda, undertaken various projects on top of building capacity for the population where they operate.
“As CCCC we acknowledge that, Uganda has a large number of young workforce and we are exploring ways to help them to gain skills and knowledge so that they can build their career and make more contribution to the nation,” Wei said.
“As we all know that Makerere University is the cradle for the talented. The school of engineering produces hundreds of excellent students every year with the background of civil engineering, road and bridge, architecture, environmental and social management etc. They are needed in this industry and they will play a big role in the infrastructure development. Therefore, we are so lucky and happy to engage with school of engineering for the cooperation of talented cultivation and internship support.”
Wei said the MOU commits the Chinese company and Makerere University to work together more closely towards the pursuit of the talented training through providing expert personnel to impact skills on the students with priority on hiring engineering interns who meet CCCC talent needs but also award scholarships for the best engineering students.
Prof Alinaitwe said the MOU will help Ugandan engineers share knowledge from their Chinese, who he described as a force to reckon with in construction and engineering.
“CCCC has done tangible projects like the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway. Such companies that have got the experience are always welcome to impart knowledge and skills into our students so as to enable us to do these things ourselves. This MOU will help build the capacity of our nation through students and members of staff,” Prof. Alinaitwe said, adding: “By getting knowledge and skills from people like you who have the exposure, our students and staff will get exposed. This will be a good experience for us.”
According to the Memorandum of Understanding, CCCC will regularly conduct short lectures, forums, training and other activities aimed at improving the comprehensive quality and practical ability of Makerere University students’ competencies relevant in employment and entrepreneurship.
The Chinese company will also give priority to hiring Makerere engineering student interns who meet its talent needs, award scholarships to best performing engineering students to pursue further studies in Chinese universities and will be required to work for CCCC when they finish their further studies for a specific period of time.
CCCC will also offer specific skills to the university interns in the company labs, assist in equipping Makerere University College of Engineering with modern test equipment but also work closely with the university to carry out industry research.