President Yoweri Museveni over the weekend performed a ground breaking ceremony for the expansion projects of Entebbe International Airport.
The ceremony took place at the airport in Entebbe. The project budget is US$200 million. The construction period is expected to be completed in 5 years time.
President Museveni thanked the Government of China for extending the soft loan to Uganda that is going to be utilized to improve Entebbe International Airport.
He commended the strong partnership that exists between China and Africa in general and Uganda in particular.
He said that Uganda and the African people stood with the Chinese in the 1940s to 1950s when the Chinese were struggling for their freedom adding that China is currently appreciating that partnership with Africa by undertaking development projects in Africa.
Quoting the Bible passage that says “whatever a man sows is what he reaps”, the President noted that Uganda worked together with China during the 1940s – 1950s, when China was engaged in the senior struggle for freedom of their country, Africans stood with them and worked with them when Africa had exchange of culture with the Western world adding that China is now doing that with Africa.
Stressing the importance of infrastructure development the President noted that Uganda produces goods and offers services, like tourism, which need exportation.
He said that those goods and services should be linked to the numerous infrastructures such as airports, roads, railways, the internet and telecommunications.
“Therefore, what we are seeing here today is one of the crucial elements of infrastructure,” he stressed.
The President strongly recommended infrastructure projects to be connected to local inputs.
He called for utilization of local products of good quality in the building of infrastructure.
If local cement is of good quality for our economy, he added, it should be purchased for such projects and that if a skill is available and is of good quality it should used.
He termed such an arrangement as vertical integration in the development of the national economy.
He further stressed that the way to bring prosperity of other parts of the world to Uganda, is by linking a producer of goods and services from Uganda to the consumers in parts of the world.
The President said that the new Entebbe Airport will go a long way in rationalizing all issues concerning air cargo and passengers as well as eliminating dust and grass which is not necessary at the Airport.
The Minister of Works and Transport, Eng. John Byabagambi commended the President for the cordial relations existing between China and Uganda.
He further thanked him for his personal wisdom and support towards the development of air transport infrastructure in the country.
The Vice President of the Chinese firm that is undertaking the project, Mr. Sun Zhiyu, said the expansion of Entebbe International Airport offers yet another opportunity for Uganda and China to deepen further their mutual beneficial cooperation.
He noted that the project will uphold corporate social responsibility, boost local employment opportunities, enhance knowledge transfer and contribute to sustained growth of the Ugandan economy.