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This strong China-Uganda bond should only get better, let's welcome #ChinaUGForum17
Bonny Tamale
Posted: 3 weeks 1 hour

Borrowing an excerpt from a 2007 research paper; China-Africa Economic Relations: The Case of Uganda by Obwona, Guloba, Nabiddo and Kilimani, it is clear that,

"China and Uganda have a long diplomatic history dating as far back as the post independence
era. During the period of 1962-1985, bilateral relations between the two countries remained
steady in spite of the regime changes in Uganda.  In 1971, at the 26th General
Assembly of the United Nations (UN), Uganda voted in favor of the resolution on the
restoration of China's lawful seat in the world body. Bilateral relations between the two
countries entered a new stage of development after the National Resistance Movement came
to power in 1986" 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...which relationship has steadily grown up to, fast forward, 2017!
This relationship is reason enough to have the CHINA-UGANDA Economic Investment & Trade Cooperation Forum with the theme, "Leveraging China’s Cooperation to Fast-Track Uganda’s Infrastructure & Industrialization Development," a forum that will also showcase investment opportunities in the construction industry and joint ventures between Uganda and China.
That is as plain as it could ever be; Uganda stands to gain a lot from this cooperation/marriage.

With GDP volumes exceeding $1.2 trillion for two consecutive years, China's economy as per 2016 figures, is around about 48 times that of Uganda (approx. $25b). This reminds me of high school days when parents used to push academically weak children to 'hang around' the academically stronger ones for better results. But that is not a close enough comparison and it is not thus, the point I want to drive across.
Despite recent setbacks in this 'relationship' in the form of protests and strikes against what many had termed as "Chinese invasion", I believe that we have, in China, a big brother we never had. We should never forget the good old days and the good things that China has brought before us! We should refrain from thinking that this is just like any other relationship and treat it as that kind of marriage that others ought to envy. We should indeed build it more

This is not only about the fact that I have three sisters studying in China on full scholarship by the Chinese gov't and neither is it about the fact that almost all the clothes I have are made in China, as well as gadgets like this Mac I am using to write this blog. It goes beyond the fact that we can now afford 'Brack Belly' or 'Louis Zuitton' and 'Clarrrks' because of China, and that the word 'China' is the new 'Cheap'...(and in many cases the other side of 'long-lasting). This is not just about the over 40,000 jobs created by Chinese enterprises as per this New Vision article (link: http://bit.ly/2p8Xp7k) and the number of projects that China government has funded, including roads, dams, and schools. It is far beyond their colorful and well-cultured documentaries on UBC TV and the Kung Fu movies that have nourished our childhood eyes up to date. And it is surely not just about the dog meat, roach and other strange delicacies on their menus.
It is about a bond.
 

The relationship that Uganda has managed to maintain with China is a bond that should only grow stronger because there is so much in it for both parties. There is so much in it, for an ordinary Ugandan, especially if all parties, (and more specifically ordinary Ugandans) understand this relationship.
It goes beyond the 'Chinese' (I mean 'cheap') talk detailed in the paragraph above, to showcase an opportunity for Uganda to leverage on this relationship so as to boost her infrastructure and industry and thus jumpstart the economy towards her middle-income goals. In other words, it is a bond that, if well utilised, can push Uganda to middle-income status. Aside from the simplicity, there are bigger projects that we can share with China to push our economy towards our target. We need to, indeed, think bigger.
And I speak for an ordinary Ugandan whilst this forum will surely detail what both governments can pick from each other. Is it something you can afford to miss? I do not think so...!

The date is set; 5th May 2017! The forum discussions will begin as early as 9 am on NTV Uganda.
 

Do you have questions? Do you want to learn more? Do you believe in a growing Uganda? Do you believe in our middle-income targets? Are you positive about progress and development? Do you believe in this bond that goes beyond 'Chinese'? Let's meet there...
 
**Bonny Tamale is a Digital Media Specialist working with NTV Uganda. Twitter: @b_tamale, Mobile: 0704818626, Email: btamale@ntv.co.ug