President Museveni has asked his counterpart President Xi Jinping of China to intervene in facilitating talks on financing the Eastern route of the standard gauge railway.
The railway line is expected to lower the cost of transport to $8 cents per metric tonne compared to the current 21 cents per metric tonne on the road and also provide investors reliable, cheap and adequate transport services to high end markets.
But government is yet to agree with the Chinese on the funding, delayed a critical infrastructure project.
“The Standard Railway negotiations with CCECC are near conclusion and China needs to help us on this,” Museveni told Xi as the two leaders met at the sidelines of the BRICS summit in South Africa.
This is the second time the two leaders are meeting in three years with a possible third meeting scheduled for this September during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit will take place in Beijing.
“In March 2015, we had very productive discussions regarding Uganda as an important partner in Africa. I am grateful that we are meeting again and our relationship is growing fast,” said Museveni.
“You have supported us in a number of projects including Karuma and Isimba power stations that will see more power added on River Nile… A Chinese company Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Limited, is also licensed to mine phosphates in Sukulu hills in Tororo District among other areas,” President Museveni said at the bilateral meeting in Sandton, South Africa.
Meanwhile, the two leaders also discussed a series of infrastructure development projects and new areas of cooperation including support to the Uganda Airline route opening in China.
The Uganda Airlines targets flights to London, Amsterdam-Brussels, Dubai, Johannesburg, Lagos, Doha and Mumbai.
While India has agreed to allow the national airline to run direct flights to Mumbai, Museveni needed China on board to increase experts to Xi’s country.
“President Museveni used the meeting to discuss possibilities of a line of credit to buy industrial machinery from China and the industrial Park where China agreed to assist with a power line in Kapeeka and support to Uganda through tourism since Uganda is reviving the Uganda Airlines that will also be flying to China,” State House said in a statement seen by ChimpReports.
Xi speaks out
President Xi Jinping said China would try to find “well-positioned companies to support the SGR project and to encourage Chinese companies to operate in Uganda.”
He also said China would open up its markets to Uganda agricultural products.
Xi stressed his government would invite NRM officials to China to benchmark on the governance and poverty reduction processes there.
The summit, held under the theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” sought to strengthen the relationship between BRICS member states and Africa.
The BRICS leaders interacted with African leaders during the BRICS Africa Outreach on how best they can bring about “inclusive growth” and “shared prosperity”.
President Museveni addressed the BRICS Africa Outreach meeting and also held several bilateral meetings with other heads of state.
The BRICS Summit is an international relations conference attended by the heads of state or heads of government of the five member states including Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of the Russia Federation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China and Cryil Ramaphosa of South Africa.