Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Sam Kutesa is in Japan on a five-day visit which is expected to consolidate economic ties between Kampala and Tokyo, Chimp Corps report.
Kutesa’s trip comes against the backdrop of increased funding from Japan for huge infrastructure projects in Uganda.
In Japan, Kutesa met with his counterpart, Taro Kono during which the latter expressed his willingness to support Uganda’s Vision 2040 through quality infrastructure development and capacity building.
“Minister Kutesa highly appreciated Japan’s support for improvement of electric transmission system in Kampala and construction of a new bridge across River Nile in Jinja,” said Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement.
“The two Ministers underscored the importance of promoting quality infrastructure in accordance with international standards such as openness, transparency, economic efficiency and financial viability of recipient countries.”
On April 26, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with Uganda to provide a loan of up to 13.659 billion yen ($118m) for the Kampala Metropolitan Transmission System Improvement Project.
In order to stabilize and improve the reliability of the power supply in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, the project will construct new 220kilovolt substations, upgrade existing 132 kilovolt substations, strengthen the urban electricity transmission grid and provide a mobile substation for emergency response.
The loan funds will be allocated to public works for constructing and upgrading substations, strengthening the electricity transmission grid, procuring a mobile substation, and consulting services (including basic design work, bidding assistance, and construction supervision).
Although the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area has a population of approximately 3.5 million people and a substantial demand for power, the power transmission and distribution capacity are still insufficient, resulting in frequent unplanned power outages due to power overloads.
The Government of Uganda has addressed the immediate demand for power through initiatives such as the Project for Improvement of Queensway Substation (grant agreement signed in November 2014), but with a rising power demand due to recent population and economic growth, the power demand is expected to again exceed the supply capacity by 2020.
In the Grid Development Plan (2014–2030), the Government of Uganda has given the highest priority to strengthening the transmission and substation capacity in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, which is the center of the country’s power demand.
By providing power transmission and distribution facilities, the project is expected to ensure a power supply that meets the demand through 2030, and will make a large contribution in improving the power conditions in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, including reducing power outages and stabilizing the supply of commercial power.
The two Ministers reaffirmed their desire to strengthen cooperation, both bilaterally and internationally, based on universal values such as freedom, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
They further shared the view on the importance of promoting private sector investment in Uganda through improvement of the business environment.
In this regard, they underlined the significance of a bilateral investment treaty in the future to facilitate more investment from Japan to Uganda.
Minister Kutesa also appreciated Japan’s support for the Project for the Improvement of Regional Referral Hospitals in Northern Uganda to improve the health care service.
Minister Kono expressed Japan’s intention to continue supporting improvement of living conditions in Uganda.
The two Ministers shared their view on the role of education and vocational training as the foundation for nation-building and economic development.
Minister Kutesa expressed his satisfaction with Japan’s contribution in the field of rice cultivation, stressing the importance of improving agricultural production and productivity.
The two Ministers reaffirmed the importance of promoting people to people exchanges and welcomed the decision by the City of Izumisano and the Town of Tateshina to become host-towns for Uganda on the occasion of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Minister Kono paid tribute to the efforts for peace and stability in Africa in particular the stabilization of Somalia with the contribution of the largest number of troops to the African Union Stabilization of Somalia with the contribution of the largest number of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), its active engagement in the political process in South Sudan, as well as hosting of over 1.4 million refugees.
The two Ministers reaffirmed the importance of a comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) including the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories of its membership, in order to make it more legitimate, effective and representative, reflecting the realities of the international community in the 21st century.