Uganda to prioritize infrastructure financing at FOCAC Beijing summit

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-17 12:58:38|Editor: Chengcheng
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KAMPALA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Uganda will focus on infrastructure financing when its delegation attends the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing summit this September.

The country continues to prioritize infrastructure development in its partnership with China, David Bahati, minister of state for finance, planning and economic development told Xinhua in an interview on Thursday.

"We are looking at the financing terms of these projects, especially the requirement of counterpart funding. It would also be something that we need to talk about," Bahati said on the sidelines of the second annual Uganda-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum held here.

Speaking at the meeting that brought together Chinese enterprises, government officials and economists, Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Uganda, said the upcoming FOCAC meeting will generate new opportunities for Uganda and Africa.

Uganda is now focusing on the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) with help from China, President Yoweri Museveni said at the opening ceremony of the business meeting.

Once completed, the railway will cut domestic transport costs and thus bring down production costs, the president said.

China is already assisting the construction of two major hydropower plants, Karuma and Isimba, both critical for ensuring Uganda adequate power for industrialization, he added.

Uganda has 2.1 billion U.S. dollars alloted to infrastructure in the 2018/19 financial year, Monica Azuba Ntege, minister of works and transport said at the meeting.

Infrastructure development is one of the key factors making Uganda a competitive upper middle-income country by 2040, she said.

Albert Saltson, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Uganda, said commercial banks can arrange long-term financial solutions which can help the government get credit for infrastructure development.

China has been committed to partnership with African countries. At the 2015 FOCAC held in South Africa, China pledged a 60-billion-U.S.-dollar fund to fast track the development of Africa with industrialization and infrastructure topping the agenda.