Western exclusive companies are blind to Ugandan investment – President Museveni | WKZO | All Kalamazoo
By Elias Biryabarema and Karin Strohecker
KYANKWANZI, Uganda (Reuters) – Chinese private investment in Uganda is increasing as Westerners lose the urge to put money to work in the country, President Yoweri Museveni told Reuters, pledging to step up efforts to fight against the corruption which progresses slowly.
Museveni, in power since 1986 and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, said Uganda was working on signing a number of deals with Chinese private sector lenders in sectors such as food processing. agro and fertilizers, mineral processing and textiles.
“Western companies have lost their glasses; they no longer have the eyes to see the opportunities. But the Chinese see opportunities, and they come, and they strike, they come very vigorously, ”Museveni told Reuters. “But (Western companies) are saturated with wealth. They are not disturbed. “
Chinese state entities and private sector companies have long been a driving force for investment in Africa https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/african-nations-mend-make-do-china-tightens-belt- road- 2021-11-22, lending to mainland countries hundreds of billions of dollars under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
According to the Uganda Investment Authority, the country has ranked third in Africa for foreign direct investment (FDI) from China in recent years.
The ties were not without conflict, however.
A parliamentary inquiry in October concluded that China had imposed onerous conditions on a $ 200 million loan to Kampala, including the potential confiscation of the East African country’s only international airport.
Museveni categorically denied using the airport as collateral.
“I don’t remember mortgaging the airport for anything,” Museveni said, adding that Kampala would pay what it owed China. “There is no problem, they will be paid.”
Museveni’s administration, seeking to finance its infrastructure building program and boost political support, has secured significant lines of credit from China https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-uganda- debt-idUSKBN2AB1BU over the past decade.
Differences over the terms of the contract were also the reason why Kampala had not yet reached an agreement with Beijing on the 1,000 km (620 mile) ultra-fast rail link between the Kenyan port of Mombasa and Uganda. , although talks are still ongoing, the president said.
FAITH AGAINST CORRUPTION
Speaking about the fight against corruption, Museveni acknowledged that more efforts were needed. Transparency International ranked Uganda 142 out of 179 in its 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index.
“We are still fighting. I wouldn’t brag that we got better – initially we weren’t really focusing on corruption, ”the 77-year-old said, adding that fighting corruption was one of his top priorities for his team. current and sixth term of president.
His administration was focused on recruiting from faith-based groups, of which the country had many, to have enough manpower to wage this war on corruption and would provide an assessment of progress on the issue two years from now, he said. -he declares.
“This is our fight: to get the right people to implement – otherwise the laws are there, the institutions are there,” said Museveni.
Speaking of the November 16 attacks in Kampala, which left three dead and blamed on Islamic State-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Museveni said there was evidence of overseas coordination with the Islamic State. men who carried out the attack.
The explosions in the heart of the capital shocked a nation known as a bulwark against violent Islamist militants in East Africa and prompted Museveni to send 1,700 troops to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, where the ADF has camps for coaching. But Museveni said foreign ties extended beyond eastern Congo.
“The bombs they detonated in Kampala recently, we have indications that they were coordinating with groups in Kenya and Somalia,” Museveni said. “Maybe not command and control but collaboration.”
He was coordinating the operation with the Congolese president, Museveni said, but he did not answer the question of whether there was coordination with Rwanda, which also has security interests in eastern Congo, and who has fought with Ugandan troops there before.
Uganda said on Friday that its troops sent this week to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo would stay as long as needed to defeat militant Islamists.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema in Kyankwanzi, Karin Strohecker in London, Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Hereward Holland in Kinshasa and Tommy Wilkes in London; edited by Alex Richardson)