KAMPALA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — A webinar was held on Thursday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Uganda.
The webinar, attended by about 150 people, including officials, diplomats, and scholars from China and Uganda, was organized by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), the Chinese embassy in Uganda, and the Ugandan embassy in China.
China and Uganda established formal diplomatic ties on Oct. 18, 1962, just nine days after Uganda gained independence.
Vice President of CPAFFC Jiang Jiang said China supported African countries to fight imperialism and colonialism. Africa also supported China’s resumption of lawful seat in the United Nations in 1971, signaling the deep ties between the two sides.
“African brothers have withstood tremendous pressure, carried China to the United Nations, and always firmly supported China in safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests and core interests on international occasions,” Jiang said.
Zhang Lizhong, Chinese Ambassador to Uganda said Uganda unwaveringly holds the one-China principle, which forges the core of the ties between the two countries.
Zhang noted that China and Uganda, and Africa at large, have always stood on the same side regarding matters of mutual interest in international affairs.
“Together, we have written a splendid chapter of mutual support amid complex changes, and set a good example for building an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future in the new era,” Zhang said.
“Over the 60 years, we have nurtured our fraternity through safeguarding international fairness and justice, enhancing our political mutual trust,” he added.
China and Uganda in June 2019 elevated their bilateral ties to the level of Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.
The trade volume between the two countries in 2021 amounted to 1.07 billion U.S. dollars, registering a 28.5 percent increase, against the shock waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of 2020, China’s direct investment in Uganda reached 710 million U.S. dollars and the investment is mainly focused on manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and logistics.
Uganda’s ambassador to China Oliver Wonekha said that China has been playing a central role in building transport and energy infrastructure in Uganda. China is financing the expansion of the country’s Entebbe International Airport, the main gateway to the world. China also financed the construction of the Kampala-Entebbe expressway linking the capital Kampala to the airport.
In the energy sector, China financed the construction of the Karuma Hydro Power Plant and Isimba Hydro Power Plant which helped address Uganda’s energy deficit, a major bottleneck to the country’s development, the ambassador said.
“China has assisted Uganda to move faster on the path of development,” Wonekha said.
Figures by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), a state-run agency, showed that China ranks among the top five sources of Foreign Direct Investment. Several Chinese-owned industrial parks have opened in the country and created much-needed jobs, according to UIA.
China National Offshore Oil Corporation is also implementing its investment of 4.7 billion U.S. dollars in Uganda’s oil sector which would help stimulate the country’s economic development, experts say.
Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhang Lizhong said China and Uganda are working closely to implement the nine programs on China-Africa cooperation, which were announced at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in November last year in Senegal’s capital of Dakar.
Jiang hoped that China and Uganda would continue to strengthen cooperation in infrastructure construction, digital innovation, green development, and other fields.
Apart from political and economic ties, people-to-people relations between the two countries are greatly improving, according to Benon Mugarura, president of China-Africa Friendship Association Uganda.
Mugarura said several events, including the Dragon Boat Festival, have been held, which have brought together Ugandan and Chinese peoples to appreciate cultural diversity.
The Confucius Institute at Makerere University is also helping to promote Chinese culture and language. Besides teaching the Chinese language to students, the institute is also training local language teachers who then will teach the Chinese language in schools.
Hong Yonghong, a professor with the Law School at Xiangtan University in central China’s Hunan Province and former Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University, said the cultural exchange between the two peoples is very critical in deepening bilateral ties, adding strong people-to-people relations provide a firm foundation to bilateral relations.