Claims that recently made rounds online, insinuating that China was taking over the Entebbe International Airport has been refuted by Beijing.
It was alleged that Uganda, having defaulted loans payment to China, stood to lose the country’s only International Air Terminal.
But the Chinese Embassy in Kampala has just released an official statement refuting the allegations. The dispatch is also trying to clarify the issue.
But already some media outlets went to as far as publishing the claims as fact.
Last year, another online meme went viral claiming that China was about to confiscate the Mombasa Port over money that the country loaned to Kenya.
Previously again there were rumours that China planned to confiscate simlar assets in Zambia, over what was claimed to be accumulated debts that Lusaka owed to Beijing.
“Why is money offered by Western countries to developing countries considered ‘Assistance for Development,’ while the money offered by China is labelled as ‘Debt Trap?’ This view is neither logic nor correct!”Wu Jianghao – Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, China.
Tanzania will soon enter into contract with China for the construction of the proposed Bagamoyo Port, in Coastal Region.
Now for the excerpt from the statement by Chinese Embassy in Uganda
China-Uganda economic and trade cooperation, including investment and financing in the field of large-scale infrastructure, follows the principle of equality and mutual benefit.
Each and every financial support that China provides to Uganda must go through serious feasibility studies and market-oriented demonstrations beforehand so as to ensure that the project achieves its due economic and social effects and to ensure healthy and sustainable development for China-Uganda economic and trade cooperation.
Entebbe Airport Expansion and Upgrading Project is a USD 200 million preferential loan project financed by the Export-Import Bank of China and is guaranteed by Uganda’s sovereign credit, not by anything else.
The two parties of China Exim Bank and the Ugandan side signed the loan agreement in March 2015 and began construction in May 2016.
Despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the contractor China Communications Construction Company Limited, has managed to catch up with the schedule of the project with the firm support and solidarity from Ugandan Government.
The project has progressed smoothly to 75.1 percent and is expected to be completed and delivered in December 2022.
It should be pointed out that China-Uganda cooperation has always adhered to the principles of openness, transparency, equality, and mutual benefits.
All loan agreements, including that of the Entebbe Airport Expansion and Upgrading Project, are voluntarily signed by both parties through dialogue and negotiation on equal footing without any hidden terms or political conditions attached.
Terms of the loan agreement for Entebbe Airport Expansion and Upgrading Project are in full compliance with the prevailing conventions and practices in the international financial market.
The malicious allegation that ‘Uganda Surrenders Key Assets for China Cash,’ has no factual basis and is ill-intended only to distort the good relations that China enjoys with developing countries including Uganda.
Not a single project in Africa has ever been ‘confiscated’ by China because of failing to pay Chinese loans. On the contrary, China firmly supports and is willing to continue our efforts to improve Africa’s capacity for home driven development.
China has been supporting the move to ease African countries’ debt burden and actively implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative for Poorest Countries and has the highest deferral amount among G20 members.
Like African countries, China has had the painful experience of being controlled by foreign countries in our economic lifeline, and suffered from unfair treatment and exploitation and oppression.
Therefore, for assistance or cooperation with Africa, China will never allow the history repeat itself, let alone impose it on others. Instead, China will always respect and help Africa, pursues common interests and puts friendship first in pursuing cooperation.
The statement concluded that ‘… Even in the face of extreme cases of debt default, China has sought to reduce the burden of African countries by means of debt restructuring, debt..’