The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zheng Zhuqiang’s tour of duty has finally come to an end after four years.
The outgoing Chinese Ambassador on Thursday paid a farewell courtesy call on the State Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of international cooperation, Henry Okello Oryem.
Speaking during the visit, Zhuqiang expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ugandan government at large for the tremendous support and cooperation he received that enabled him to successfully carry out his duties.
During his tenure, political and economic ties were enhanced as seen through various exchanges of high-profile visits including President Museveni who visited China twice.
Similarly, Yang JIECHI, the State Councilor and Director of Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office of the Chinese Communist Party visited Uganda twice.
Zhuqiang has also seen a number of trade and investment programs and projects implemented during his stay in Uganda including industrial parks in Kapeeka, Mbarara, Mukono and Mbale; dams including Isimba and Karuma; rural electrification, education and culture exchanges (Scholarships) and big infrastructure projects like the Entebbe Expressway.
He attributed the increased number of Chinese investments in the country to Uganda’s conducive business environment.
The outgoing Ambassador voiced his optimism that exports of Ugandan agricultural products to China will soon be on the rise, especially fruits and vegetables, beef and fish.
These will be in addition to coffee exports which are already booming.
In his farewell remarks, Minister Oryem reaffirmed Uganda’s commitment to strengthening the existing relations between the two countries.
He noted the China-Africa cooperation dates way back to the colonial time when many African countries were engaged in liberation struggles.
Oryem particularly expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for developmental support given to Uganda in various sectors including education, health, defence and infrastructure among others.
The relations between Uganda and China have in the past 10 years continued to blossom with the volume of more than quadrupled from $230 million in 2008 to over $1 billion in 2018 but of these, China’s exports to Uganda are the majority at about $850 million.
The major exports to Uganda from China include machinery and electrical equipment, whereas Uganda exports hides, skins, oils and seeds but also the East African country is a big market for many Chinese businesses both state-owned and private as they manufacture electronics, clothes, water and many others.
China has also provided a number of loans to Uganda to help finance her infrastructural development projects including roads and dams among others.
In February, the Chinese government announced a donation of 300,000 doses of Covid-19 Sinovac vaccine to Uganda.