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President Museveni defends Chinese loans

President Mnangagwa and President Museveni

Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  President, Yoweri Museveni has praised the Chinese Government for extending loans to Uganda and Africa where other partners have been hesitant. He was fielding questions at a press conference he jointly addressed with visiting Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House Entebbe ahead of today’s Independence Celebrations.

Responding to questions from Journalists on Uganda borrowing a lot of loans for infrastructure development, Museveni praised China for giving Uganda loans for projects neglected by other partners. According to Museveni, this has enabled Uganda to save its money for other things, and use the loans, which have a longer repayment period.

He said the country’s loan ceiling is still manageable and there is no cause for alarm. The president also said in order to develop the economy, factors that influence costs of production like transport, high interest rates and electricity need to be addressed.

He said Chinese are the only ones who have agreed to lend Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to construct the Railway and roads.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, Africa is heading towards a debt crisis. Uganda’s debt has hit 42 trillion Shillings. Like most African countries, China is the largest creditor to Uganda disbursing 39 per cent of the total credit in the financial year 2017/2018, surpassing the traditional creditors such as the World Bank (21 per cent) and the African Development Bank (8 per cent).

In his speech, President, Mnangagwa, thanked President Museveni for honoring him to preside over this year’s independence celebrations, saying Southern Africa has a lot to learn from Uganda and East Africa.   According to Mnangagwa, when Uganda got independence in the early, it inspired some Southern African countries to push for the same.

He however, said that as Zimbabawe, they have been surviving by themselves without any support from foreigners.  Mnangagwa noted that the numerous sanctions imposed on the country have been a big problem to the country’s economy. He however, said they are moving towards findings African solutions to African problems.

He praised Uganda saying it has contributed to the development of Southern Africa materially and intellectually, adding that several members of his cabinet are graduates of Makerere University.

The two leaders also signed a joint communiqué and agreed that sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted immediately. Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kuteesa read out the details of the joint communiqué.

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