Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges support for Uganda's EACOP project

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Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges support for Uganda's EACOP project
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President Museveni has received a letter from Xi Jinping, the President of the People's Republic of China, expressing unwavering support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP).

The letter, hand-delivered by Ambassador Xue Bing, the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, was read by the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhang Lizhong, on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at the Kisozi Farm.

It reaffirmed China's commitment to collaborating with Uganda to ensure the success of the project.

"I am pleased to inform you that I fully support EACOP. I believe it will enhance socio-economic development in the region. With our strong cooperation, I am confident that this project will be successful," the letter read.

The EACOP is a 1,443km project that stretches from Kabaale, Hoima district in Uganda to the Chongoleani Peninsula near Tanga Port in Tanzania.

Its purpose is to transport oil from Uganda's Lake Albert oilfields to global markets via the port of Tanga.

Museveni acknowledged the support for the project and assured the Chinese delegation that all major concerns regarding the project are being constructively addressed.

Zhang Lizhong informed the president that Chinese financial institutions are open to discussions on the project and extended an invitation to Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, to visit China for further discussions.

During the meeting, Ambassador Xue Bing, the special envoy, briefed the president on three areas of discussion: deepening bilateral relations between Uganda and China, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and the planned conference for peace in the Horn of Africa.

In response, President Museveni expressed gratitude to Chinese investors for their cooperation in completed projects such as the Isimba and Karuma Power dam projects, which generate over 800 megawatts. He welcomed additional ideas for cooperation between Uganda and China.

The president particularly proposed collaborative efforts between China and Uganda to advance infrastructure development, specifically the establishment of a railway network.

He emphasised the transformative impact such initiatives could have on Uganda's progress and sought technical cooperation from China in this regard.

"We aim to build a railway system that will connect Uganda to the coast. The Engineering Brigade of the Army will handle the construction, but we need your technical and material support," he informed the delegation.

President Museveni also appealed to the Chinese government to encourage their companies to invest in value addition at the source. Recognizing the potential for mutual benefit, he urged Chinese companies to process raw materials locally in Uganda, which would create employment opportunities and bolster economic growth.

"We need your presence to add value to our products at the source, thereby reducing Africa's dependency on exporting raw materials. We have a wide spectrum of raw materials, and what we need now is value addition," said the president.

Xue Bing conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping's admiration for Uganda's achievements and contributions to regional unity and cooperation, citing the successful hosting of international summits as examples.

"We congratulate you, Your Excellency, for assuming the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the G-77+ China Summit. We believe this will strengthen our cooperation and unity among all member states because we strongly believe in your wise leadership," he said.

The Special Envoy reaffirmed China's commitment to supporting Uganda's stability and development endeavours, highlighting the enduring friendship between the two nations.

"Your Excellency, our countries have enjoyed a long-standing relationship, and we assure you of continuous bilateral relations through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the international summits you chair," he said.

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