Chinese investors bring hope for growth and jobs in Uganda

By developing more industrial parks in Uganda, Chinese investors are helping to boost economic growth and provide jobs to rural young people, local leaders told Xinhua.

The Mbale industrial park, now under construction in eastern Uganda, has inspired optimism among young people in local and neighboring areas.

President Museveni (in white shirt) and other officials from China and Uganda government launch the Mbale Industrial Park. FILE

 

The park is over 600 acres (2.4 square km) in size and will host over 50 companies, creating 15,000 jobs when completed.

“I’m hoping if these industries set off, I will get some formal or informal work and save enough money to get back to school,” Michael Wakida, a school dropout, told Xinhua.

Wakida now makes shoes from used tires at a makeshift shade not far from the planned park, on the foot of Mount Elgon.

Local leaders are confident that the park is going to boost development and reduce youth unemployment.

John Musira, chairperson of Manafwa district, has been on benchmarking tours to China before.

“My observation is that China’s economic growth hinges on industrialization. I believe they (Chinese investors) will bring with them the same ideas and standards in building this industrial park,” Musira told Xinhua.

“Besides the manufacturing work that will be done here, they will also lead to higher demands for our other products like food and coffee beverages,” he said.

“We plan to make the industrial park a center of manufacturing in Uganda, and the products will be exported to the rest of Africa and even the world,” said Paul Zhang, chairperson of Tian Tang Group in Uganda, the Chinese investor.

“When completed, we believe the park will create more than 15,000 jobs for local people,” said Zhang.

Hundreds of kilometers away in central Uganda, another Chinese-built industrial park in Nakaseke district has already taken shape.

The Liaoshen industrial park is expected to accommodate 80 firms and employ up to 16,000 people by 2025.

Chinese investors will spend about 600 million U.S. dollars in the park before it goes into full operation, according to Chinese embassy figures.

At present, three factories are in operation there, covering fruit processing, maize storage and milling, and ceramics.

China ranks first in terms of foreign direct investment in Uganda. More Chinese-invested industrial parks are expected in the country, on top of the four currently in place.

SOURCE: Xinhua
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