Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has said the government is encouraging foreign direct investments after discovering several commercial quantities of mineral, oil and gas deposits to enable the country attain middle-income status within the next three years.
“We have induced an environment that is fully supportive of Foreign Direct Investment and we feel we are valued partners because Africa’s voice is beginning to be heard internationally in the quest for our development,” Mbabazi said.
He was meeting a delegation from the China-Africa Development Fund, the largest Chinese private equity that focuses on stimulating and facilitating Chinese investments in Africa, at his office on Monday.
The Fund will finance the proposed US$620m mining project in Osukuru hills in Tororo district, undertaken by a Chinese company, Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group which is prospecting for base metals, phosphates and uranium on 26sqkm covering 14 villages.
Mbabazi said Tororo had the second largest phosphate deposits in Africa, with exploitation estimated to last 35 years. Under the Project, the company will produce 300,000 tonnes each of fertilizers and steel annually, establish a 200,000-tonne annual capacity sulfuric acid plant and also build a 5-MW power plant in the area.
Mbabazi commended China for always standing by in times of need right from the time of Uganda’s independence, saying she was an example to Africa in her revolutionary struggles against foreign domination.
“At the time we needed support, China was never wanting as you trained our people, gave us all types of ammunition and we are now a free continent,” Mbabazi said. He reiterated Uganda’s contribution to peace and stability in the East and Central African region.
Lu Qingcheng, the Vice President of China-Africa Development Fund who headed the 8-member delegation, said the Fund was founded in 2006 by former Chinese President Hu Jintao as a channel for sustainable Sino-Africa cooperation.
“My visit has concretised my confidence in the project as one of the key investments in Vision 2040 that will drive Chinese partnerships,” Qingcheng said. He said he visited the project site in Tororo, eastern Uganda on Sunday and was impressed by its scale.
Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group specialises in infrastructure development, manufacturing and agriculture value addition, among others.
By Kyetume Kasanga