By Elias Biryabarema and Karin Strohecker
KYANKWANZI, Uganda (Reuters) – Chinese private investment in Uganda is growing while Westerners are reluctant to pour money into the country, President Yoweri Museveni told Reuters, pledging to step up efforts to de-escalate the country. The resolution of corruption is progressing slowly.
Museveni, in power since 1986 and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, said Uganda was working on a number of deals with Chinese private sector lenders in the fields of such as processing agricultural products and fertilizers, mineral processing and textiles.
“Western companies have lost their glasses; they have no eyes to see the opportunity. But the Chinese see an opportunity, and they come, and they knock, they come very strong,” Museveni told Reuters. “But (Western companies) are saturated with wealth. They don’t mind at all.”
Chinese public institutions and private enterprises have long been the driving force behind investment in Africa https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/african-nation-mend-make-do-china -tightens-belt-road- November 22, 2021, lends to countries on the continent hundreds of billions of dollars under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
According to the Uganda Investment Authority, the country ranks third in Africa in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) from China in recent years.
However, the relationship is not without conflict.
A congressional investigation in October concluded that China had imposed tough conditions on a $200 million loan to Kampala, including the potential foreclosure of the nation’s only international airport. this East African country.
Museveni flatly refused to use the airport as collateral.
“I don’t remember what mortgaged the airport was for,” Museveni said, adding that Kampala would pay what it owes China. “No problem, they’ll get paid.”
Museveni’s administration, seeking to fund infrastructure building and political support, secured large lines of credit from China https://www.reuters.com/article /uk-uganda-debt-idUSKBN2AB1BU for the past decade.
The difference in the terms of the contract is also the reason Kampala has not reached an agreement with Beijing on a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) high-speed rail line from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Uganda, despite talks Judgment is still going on, the chairman said.
Talking about the fight against corruption, Museveni admitted that more effort is needed. Transparency International ranks Uganda 142 out of 179 in its 2020 corruption perception index.
“We are still fighting. I’m not going to brag that we’ve made progress – we didn’t really focus much on corruption at first,” said the 77-year-old, adding that the fight against money-matching was one of the first. his main priorities during his current and sixth presidency.
His administration is focusing on recruiting from faith groups, of which the country abounds, to get enough manpower to fight that fight against corruption and will make an assessment of the progress of the matter. the subject over a two-year period, he said.
“That’s our struggle: to get clean people to do it – otherwise, the law is there, the institutions are there,” Museveni said.
Speaking about the November 16 bombing in Kampala, which killed three people and was blamed on the Islamic State-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Museveni said there was evidence of coordination. from abroad with those who carried out the attack.
The explosions in the center 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 training camps. But Museveni said the foreign links extend beyond eastern Congo.
“The bombs they detonated in Kampala recently, we have some indications that they are coordinating with groups in Kenya and Somalia,” Museveni said. “Maybe not command and control but collaboration.”
Museveni said he was coordinating operations with the Congolese president, but he did not respond to a question about whether there was coordination with Rwanda, which also has security interests in eastern Congo and has fought the army. Uganda was there before or not.
On Friday, Uganda said its troops sent to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this week would stay as long as necessary to defeat the Islamist militants.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema in Kyankwanzi, Karin Strohecker in London, Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Hereward Holland in Kinshasa and Tommy Wilkes in London; Editing by Alex Richardson)
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