KAMPALA – Mr Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Wednesday hosted a farewell luncheon in honour of Zheng Zhuqiang, the outgoing Ambassador of China to Uganda, whose tour of duty is expected to end on 13th April 2021.
The minister, paid a glowing tribute to the outgoing Ambassador and commended the excellent cordial bilateral relations between Uganda and China that are not only historic in nature but over the years continued to progress steadily.
Kutesa further appreciated the interventions and efforts of Amb. Zhuqiang during his tour Uganda and China’s relations have strengthened with the elevation of relations to a Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership. He further commended the Ambassador for effective leadership at the Embassy for strengthening the bond between Uganda and China.
The Minister, highlighted that the Ambassador maintained the momentum of high-level exchanges between both countries notably; The official visits of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to China in 2018 and 2019 to attend the 3rd FOCAC Summit and the 1st China-Africa Export and Import Exhibition, and the visit of H.E. Edward Sekandi, the Vice President who led a delegation of Officials for a working visit in 2018. Other visits include the official visit of Hon. Rebecca Kadaga in 2017 and several Cabinet Ministerial visits.
Kutesa also highlighted the visits of H.E. Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2019 and 2021. As well as the official visits of the Governor and Vice Governor of Hunan Province in 2018.
In terms of economic co-operation, Kutesa highlighted some achievements registered like advanced the development of Industrial parks in Uganda with the introduction of the Mbale Industrial Park invested by Chinese entrepreneurs and the attraction of various Chinese investors into Uganda as well as 20 projects were agreed upon by both sides for consideration for funding under FOCAC mechanism in sector areas of Agriculture, Education and Sports, Health and Infrastructural Development.
The Minister further recalled and appreciated the efforts undertaken by the Government of China through the Embassy to support Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic in the provision of necessary PPEs and other donations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
In regard to Political Cooperation at International Fora, Kutesa noted that the Ambassador extended support to Uganda to host the 3rd G77 Summit. He tenaciously followed up on the donation of the 70 vehicles and accreditation equipment.
Amb. Zhuqiang on his part conveyed a message of gratitude to the Minister, for the immense support and cooperation that has been accorded to him during his tour of duty as the Ambassador and noted that without this he would not have registered the success attained in his tenure of duty.
Amb. Zhuqiang noted that several Agreements and MoU’s were signed between Uganda and different China Government Ministries, Provincial Governments and companies in various fields of cooperation in key sector areas of Agriculture, Education, Health, Infrastructural Development, Science and Technology to mention but a few.
In regard to Cooperation in Infrastructure development Amb. Zhuqiang was pleased to note the following; Completion of the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, a modern expressway, Completion and commissioning of the 183MW Isimba Hydro Power Plant and ongoing construction of the Karuma Hydro Power Plant (HPP). Over 8000 Ugandans have been employed as the project is being built; Ongoing expansion of the Entebbe International Airport with overall progress for the upgrade standing at 75 percent level of completion and the completion of three phases of the National ICT backbone project.
He further reiterated the commitment the Government of the People’s Republic of China to continue supporting Government projects aimed at promoting development and social economic transformation for the mutual benefit of both countries.
In conclusion, Kutesa wished Amb. Zhuqiang remarkable success in his next deployment and reminded him that he is always welcome to visit Uganda any time.
Also in attendance, Hon. Joy Kabatsi, Minister for State for Works, Amb. Patrick Mugoya, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Bageya Waiswa, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transport, Amb. Arthur Kafeero Director Regional Cooperation, Amb. Charles Ssentongo, Chief of Protocol, H.E. Mohammed Suleiman Ahmed, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Amb Alfred Nnam, Head Public Diplomacy Department, Ms. Joyce Onek Badaru , Head International Economic Department other senior Officials of the Chinese Embassy in Uganda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Works.