Opinion: Museveni – “China might be a problem in the future” – it will be if you default on your debt

Africa has been having problems for the last 600 years due to the slave trade, colonialism, neocolonialism — and none of it was from China” (…) not seen any serious problem, because their approach is different” (…) “They do not impose their offers if you do not want them, so we have not seen a problem for now. Maybe a problem in the future, but not now” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (Sinan Tavsan – ‘Uganda leader says China-style diplomacy ‘better than’ the West’s’ 17.03.2022, Asia Nikkei).

President Museveni had an exclusive interview with a journalist from Asia Nikkei and it was published today. These few quotes are from there and it is striking. The former donor darling of the West. The President who has pandered to the interests of the United States and their allies for ages. Who has eaten of the buffet of aid, grants and all sorts of prepositions, which has given him a larger than life persona.

That man is now blaming the West for if all. He is right in going after the colonial past of the West and the neocolonial structures, which are hampering development and continues the cycle of rich versus poor. This is justified, but he also shows a little nativity in concern to China.

It is just like he don’t think the monies, the funds and the China Exim Bank, which works like this:

The China Exim Bank is increasingly making use of a deal structure – known as the “Angola mode” or “resources for infrastructure” – whereby repayment of the loan for infrastructure development is made in terms of natural resources (for example, oil). While this approach is by no means novel or unique, and follows a long history of natural resource – based transactions in the oil industry – China has taken its implementation to a higher level. By providing preferred lines of credit to Chinese state-owned enterprises and foreign governments wishing to purchase Chinese made goods, the China Exim Bank supports the overseas expansion of Chinese firms in line with the country’s “Go Global” strategy, whose long-run goal is to increase the productivity and competitiveness of these enterprises vis-à-vis their global competitors. The arrangement is used for countries that cannot provide adequate financial guarantees to back their loan commitments and allows them to package natural resource exploitation and infrastructure development” (Institute of Developing Economies – Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) – ‘China in Africa’ October 2009).

What Museveni is not saying is what the costs of the debt and the structure of the Chinese support to Uganda or anywhere else. It is like Museveni haven’t seen what has happened when Republics or Nations defaults or fail to pay on the debts. Since, the Chinese Banks or Funds are coming with strings, which isn’t always public. That’s why we have seen what has happened to Sri Lanka and Tonga, which both has to give up key infrastructure to be licensed. The same has been told to happen Zambia and there are already fear of what could happen to Entebbe International Airport.

President Museveni should consider all of this, as it is next generation that will cover the debt he has been accumulated during his reign. There will be more than the Toll Road on the Entebbe Express-way to secure revenue for the added debt. It is like Museveni isn’t concerned about this and the threshold for repayments are coming closer. Therefore, at one point or another… if there is lacking domestic revenue… the Chinese companies or China can cease or capture collateral.

So, Museveni is right… China could become a problem. Especially, for all the nations who has eaten loans for the infrastructure projects in the Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which will pass the grace period and the debt of these has to be repaid. It wasn’t free money to build roads, buildings or rail-roads. No, it was an investment, which the Chinese plans to get profits out of. They didn’t give away this money. The first loaned the money, got a Chinese developer and Chinese Engineering company to build it and now later the debtor has to repay it with interests.

That is the brutal truth… I am not saying the loans are a problem, but they could easily become it. Especially, if the debtor doesn’t pay on time or in a fashion, which the creditor accepts. If they defaults or fails to repay. This gives the creditor leverage and possible freedoms or liberties to ensure collateral. Therefore, it could easily become a huge problem…

Museveni should also study how this happened to others. As sooner or later, this could happen in Uganda or anywhere else in Africa. The Chinese is right in doing this. The debtors signed the agreements and the stipulations on the loans are giving it legal binding rights to get it repaid. That is why … they might not use colonial techniques to get resources, ownership or have influence. They just borrowed money and with that has the upper-hand of their poorer states. It is a wise move, because the Chinese knows greed is an easy way of corrupting minds and get them into the fold. The same ways happens here. They don’t come with guns or war, but they are financially binding, which can easily be triggered.

In this instance, Museveni is partly outsmarted. Both are getting their interests nurtured, but at one point he could easily get into real trouble. It would be a huge problem and the state has to find currency or liquidity to actually cough up funds to pay on old loans. This is on the horizon and evidently, people are speaking to soft-heartedly about it. Peace.

Chinese Embassy in Uganda: Remarks by the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Uganda on Some Media Reports Alleging that “Uganda Surrenders Airport for China Cash” (28.11.2021)

Opinion: Financial distress and defaulting on loans causes the state to loose Entebbe International Airport

China is most likely to take over Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport for default on debt repayment. More of Uganda’s national assets are at stake of seizure because of the unrealistic and endless borrowing which has mountained public debt to UGX65 trillion” (Kingdom Media Uganda, 25.11.2021).

The Deficit Financing can only take you so far. The bloated and crony capitalism can only keep you going so far. There been years upon years with loans for all sort of development projects and infrastructure upgrades in general. The loans have gone to buildings, roads and the only international airport in the Republic.

The National Resistance Movement and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have over the years promised they have a threshold and control of the amount of debt. However, in 2021 after a downturn and lack of generating revenue. The state is defaulting on it’s loans. The state has taken out loans it cannot carry. Loans are not only the loan, but the services for it too. The loans are with interests and with additional fees, which was accepted on taking the loans. These loans are now maturing and the grace period of not paying interests etc.

The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) have promised they can service it and has it under control. They have said it would be used properly and well-spent funds. Nevertheless, the loans are clearly piling up and the state doesn’t have the revenue to pay them. They have recycled to many bad-loans and now they comes to haunt the Republic.

The state is paying for ghosts, huge patronage and a local government structure that is dilapidated from the get-go. Since, the state has such excess of expenditure, but they have to keep that to breathe life into the regime. This is why the state has to spend and use funds like a drunk sailors in port. Just awaiting to be robbed by a bystander or waste a salary at a gentleman’s club. However, this is a serious government and not a drunk lonely man who has been at sea for months on end.

It is tragic, but there been warnings. The Sri Lankan debt to China and what happened there should have been a “red flag”. What happened in Zambia as well should be another story of which the Ugandan government should have reacted too. However, that is clearly asking to much, as kickbacks, graft and grand corruption is part of the diet at the Entebbe/Nakasero State House. They are just eating and doesn’t care about the ramifications of it. Since, the cattle in Rwakitura farm is better taken care off, than how the budgets are financed. This is the sad reality of the Republic in 2021.

The amount of loans and debt will cause more distress. Why? Well, there is no future or ability to clear the debt without any proper revenue. The state needs to find new measures to get fiscal responsible. However, the state cannot just tax things and start to tax people for their every transaction. Because, with doing that… they are taking away money, which will generate more revenue and even more possibility to create new businesses. Yes, the state gets more taxes, but they are also creating a wormhole where there is no option to generate any real income. Since, if you have any transactions, the percentages of money is siphoned by the state and instead of getting invested to make new markets.

Therefore, the state is forced to change the way it operates. However, by doing so… the NRM and Museveni will have to drop cronies. That is something it cannot afford, because they are to eat and not to make the Republic better. This state cannot sustain itself …. and it’s own fault that it defaults on loans. Nevertheless, the citizens and the taxpayers are the first to be hit by this. Not the ones who has issued or taken out the loans over the years. They are the ones that has to fix it or for generations pay the Chinese for ordinary services. Because, the current regime wants SUVs and envelopes to cover for funerals or pay for medical tourism. Peace.

Opinion: 7 years down the line and the China Exim Bank loan to upgrade Entebbe Airport can become a liability

The State Minister of Finance, David Bahati assured the legislators that the implementation of the project will be monitored to ensure the funds are properly utilised” (The Observer – ‘Parliament endorses Shs 680bn Entebbe Airport expansion loan’ 30.10.2015).

It is now evident that the Government of Uganda and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) might struggle with a loan it took out in March 2015 from the China EximBank to fund upgrades of the Entebbe International Airport. We are now in October 2021. There was forewarnings about taking expensive and extensive loans to build and development infrastructure projects. The ones who was steadfast and worried about the rate of loans the state took out was silenced. The state had a plan and initiated with thresholds of loans the state could borrow.

Alas, the state is starting to struggle to cope with all of these loans. It is not shocking as the NRM and the state have been busy with deficit financing it’s budgets to balance it. They are operating with a higher expenses than it has domestic revenue. So to go from red to black the state borrows vast sums from various entities, both locally and internationally. These are taken out with interests and with that… the debt burden is ballooned and at one point… the creditor will either ask for the collateral or make an agreement to cover the funds to cover the defaulted debt. This is what that could happen to Entebbe International Airport…..

Here is how the story went…

How the loan was made:

On October 8, 2014, Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) entered into a contract for the up grading and expansion of Entebbe International Airport (Phase 1). To access funding for the project, the Government of Uganda (GoU), represented by the finance ministry, signed a concessional agreement with EXIM Bank of China dated March 31, 2015 for the principal amount not exceeding Renminbi 1.26 billion (about $200m) and interest to be charged at a rate of 2% per annum” (Africa Tembelea – ‘AG Muwanga raises queries on Entebbe Airport Expansion’ 12.01.2019).

How CAA looked at the agreement in 2019:

Current overall progress for the upgrade and expansion of Entebbe International Airport is at 52 per cent as opposed to the planned progress of 55 per cent. This is commendable progress. At one point in time, there was a delay in release of money from the Exim Bank of China to the contractor (CCCC), which led to a slight delay that has since been resolved. There was a difference of opinion between Exim Bank and the Government of Uganda on the loan agreement clauses. This necessitated the Government of Uganda and Exim bank of China to renegotiate the terms. This was done and the matter resolved amicably. The contractor has since increased resources committed to the project including manpower and equipment. The rainy season also affected works” ( Dorothy Nakaweesi – ‘Renegotiating loan terms slows Entebbe Airport expansion’ 03.06.2019, Daily Monitor).

Xinhua reports:

Under the Belt and Road Initiative, construction works started in May 2016 after Uganda acquired a 200-million-U.S. dollar loan from the Export-Import Bank of China (China EximBank). The project is scheduled to be implemented in two phases, said China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which was contracted to design, construct and manage the project. The first phase, with three-quarters finished, involves construction of a new passenger terminal, a new cargo complex, and upgrade of two runways and their associated taxiways, rehabilitation and overlay of three aprons. “For the new cargo building, it is about 10,000 square-meters and when it is finished, it can handle 100,000 tons of cargo per year; for the new passenger terminal building, it is about 20,000 square-meters (and) can handle 3 million passengers per year,” Li Qinpu, CCCC project manager told Xinhua in a recent interview” (Ronald Ssekandi – ‘Feature: China revitalizes Uganda’s aging airport to carry more int’l traffic’ 15.10.2021, Xinhua).

Brian Luwanga tweeted today:

EXIM Bank of China can take over Entebbe Airport in case Uganda fails to pay back a loan of 740 billion shillings ,this has been unearthed by COSASE while meeting Finance Minister Matia Kasaija. The loan was advanced to Uganda for upgrade of Entebbe Airport(Brian Luwanga, 28.10.2021).

It is now a shot that the state promised was safe and would be able to liable for. The state said it would be able to repay the Chine EximBank and service the debt. However, it now seems likely the state is failing to pay back the loans. This means the state is defaulting in it and depending on the agreement. The creditor will have power to cover the debt from the debtor. In this instance, the state has to give collateral or any other sort of value, which will practically cover the lost debt and get returns on the loans issued.

This here is a sad story, but they could have done things differently. Even MPs and some said the state should use other sources to raise the funds for the upgrades of Entebbe International Airport. There was one MP who said the state should borrow this from the NSSF to cover it. Alas, that wasn’t the case and now we are here.

We shouldn’t be shocked at this current rate and with the trillions of shillings of debt. The debt isn’t only the amount you get directly from the lender, but you will also pay additional fees and interests. Meaning the loan isn’t just the fixed funds, which the debtor is receiving, but also the costs of servicing it too. That is what the state has do to when it takes these sort of loans and financial instruments.

The general public should worry about this. Because the state has taken out so many loans and these could it easily default on. The state needs domestic revenue, but is running on huge burden of running costs. While it doesn’t have a growing economy or financial structure to cover the deficits. That’s why the state has taken out loans to cover these expenses and this is why they are defaulting on it.

This was inevitable and the state has to restructure itself. Also, ensure it only has expenses that it can cover and just continue to add debt until the sky. Now the rainy days are coming and the loans taken out in recent years will come to haunt the state. This will hurt the state even more and the spiral of depreciative loans will eat up the budgets, which it is already doing. The rate of paying down on it will be destructive, unless there is a sudden miraculous change of financial fortunes. Alas, await more tragedies like these, as the Entebbe International Airport is the top of the ice-berg. Peace.

President Museveni letter to Hon. Monica Azuba Ntege – Ruling out external or internal borrowing for development infrastructure (18.09.2019)

Another look into the Oil-Road Cost: “Package 2” Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko Road!

In the newest report of Oil Roads, which is expected to borrow funds for. The China Exim Bank is supposed to be provider of 85 % of the cost of the operation and building of the roads in these projects. I will only look into one of them, as I have previously looked at this significant one.

This is the Hoima-Butiaba-Wasenko Road. A project that was supposed to start in 2015 and was clocking in funds from the state budgets in 2017. Back in 2015, the road was estimated to cost $126m USD. Today, with the recent report, the same road is costing $179,538m USD. That is jump of nearly $50m in a five years time. In addition, of these bloated funds, 85 % of it will be loaned from China and the rest 15% covered by the Government of Uganda (GoU).

In 2017, this project was designated the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which signed a deal in January 2016. However, by the time of the report 2019, it is another Chinese Company who has the contract. This is Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CRC) Ltd. With the recent contract, the loans are clearly getting direct back to the Chinese, as their corporations are the ones with the contracts to build. A clever way of borrowing and then getting returns.

With this mind, we can see the changes, see over the years how the price has changed. If Members of Parliament was afraid of the price per kilometre in the past. They should be now. As the changes of price on the same project has changed significantly. There is no doubt, that the Chinese government are getting added loans on each of the packages in this deal. As this is just one of the roads in question.

This is 111km is now costing 659,921,964,460.17UGX in Ugandan terms or 659bn shillings and that equals to about 5,9bn shillings. Therefore, the prices has sky-rocketed and the price per kilometre is abnormal and extremely costly. The overpriced asphalt and the consultation is in absurd levels. The previosly estimated price for this road was about 444bn shillings. Therefore, we can see rising price between the years in both currencies. About 200bn shillings growth in 5 years. 

To many cooks and too few ingredients. They are boiling soup on nails on this one. Wonder how this will end. As I felt in 2017, that the pricing of this particular road was a bit too much, but now they have just escalated it.

We can wonder whose eating, but someone is. We just don’t know who, because there been designated funds to build this one in the past and it has still not commenced. Surely, this road will be built, but at what point. However, with the added loans, the pressure should be on. Also, to secure the oil so it makes financial sense too. That the added value is there. It got to be. Because this project is over the top. This is the real OTT service, paid for by the Chinese and the tab is all taken by the Ugandans. Peace.

Philippines: Statement of Vice President Leni Robredo on the President’s plan to “ignore” the arbitral ruling in favor of joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea (12.09.2019)

Philippines: Are we seeing a slow Chinese takeover?

Certainly, the massive loans given to the “Build! Build! Build” are starting to cost. As the big infrastructure projects and other loans are taking their toll on the economy. Therefore, the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte are trying to collect something. It seems like the Chinese counterparts are getting lots of collateral and salvage the spent funds in Philippines. Because, as the weeks goes by and the ASEAN friends, the one with the upper-hand is China.

This is surely not how Duterte want it too look, as they are having a bargain. There has already been putting into question the control of Benham Rise and the hard-won control of the island there. Still, the Republic haven’t fought with tooth and nail to get it back. This week, it seems like there are more installations on it. The sovereign Philippines are being toyed with by China. They are being fooled and has to accept deals, because of the loans to Beijing. Manila is indebted and has to give concessions. Why else, would this week be filled with new Chinese interference and getting licenses in the Philippines?

Weather Station Controversy:

“It is currently coordinating with concerned government agencies, as well as with the Philippine Embassy in Beijing to verify the existence or non-existence of these alleged facilities,” he said. Panelo earlier addressed this concern on Monday saying Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin jr. will “do his job” once the reports have been verified. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang announced on November 1 that Beijing has already begun operating weather stations on the artificial islands in South China Sea. “These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities, and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast, and disaster prevention and relief,” Lu Kang said in a press conference” (Janine Peralta – ‘Philippines to take action if Chinese weather stations in South China Sea are verified — Palace’ 06.11.2018 link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/11/06/ph-china-south-china-sea-panelo.html).

Oil Fields:

One of the projects included an exploration between state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd., located off Calamian in southwestern Palawan province, Cusi told Manila Bulletin in a news briefing. Cusi was referring to Service Contract 57 which covers an oil and gas project awarded to PNOC’s exploration unit, and picked CNOOC as a partner. Cusi did not share details for Service Contract 72, an exploration permit held by the Philippines’ PXP Energy Corp. for Reed Bank, but clarified that the Reed Bank, another disputed South China Sea area, is not of the two” (Meanne Rosales – ‘ PH to seal 2 exploration deals with China’ 09.11.2018, link: https://powerphilippines.com/2018/11/09/ph-seal-2-exploration-deals-china/)

Chinese Telecommunication as the Third Telco:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the entry of China Telecommunications Corp., or China Telecom, in his country’s telecommunication industry, saying the Philippines stands to benefit from the “good competition” that a Chinese company will bring to the industry” (…) “Duterte said that China “has proved to be of very incredibly high quality of electronics.” “(Xinhuanet – ‘Duterte welcomes China Telecom’s operating in Philippines’ 08.11.2018).

As we see, the sudden Benham Rise in the South China Sea and the will of China to takeover the place, while the Malacañang are preoccupied with sneering at priests, Rappler and who else who hurt their pride. They are not seeing or looking away from the sovereign implications on Benham Rise. As there are talks already of military installations, but now also monitoring equipment and a weather station. Clearly, the Chinese sees it as their land, while the PH are busy trying to find out what is happening there.

Than, you have the oil-fields in the same region, where the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) have gotten licenses to drill oil there. Clearly, this is all intentional, as well as they are the lucky third Telecommunication Company and getting into the Cellphone business too. This is just fitting as a glove. They are both getting territory in the South China Sea, they are getting exploitation opportunities and steady profits through a cell-phone carrier. All this they have gotten for dropping some loans, that is hard for the Philippines to repay in cash.

That is why they are allowed to get these things, as collateral for the debt. This is a game the Chinese plays well. That is why this is all happening. We have seen similar efforts done in Sri Lanka. That will surely happen in the Philippines too. As the Chinese is not forgiving with their loans. They want points on the dollar. Not loose money and certainly not lose face on the investments made. Peace.

Is the Filipino getting into a debt-trap with China like Sri Lanka and Tonga?

If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.”John Maynard Keynes

There are worries about the rising levels of debt the Philippines has to China. That should worry all Filipino. Since, this will be repaid, even as the infrastructure projects under the President is served now. The time for repaying these debts will come. This might be the next one after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte might have to answer for that. But he should be worry himself of the levels he is putting the Republic in, unless he wants important parts of the infrastructure be “given” to the Chinese as a way of repaying the debt like Sri Lanka did.

The conclusion of an agreement with China to manage the Hambantota port was seen as inevitable after the government buckled under Chinese pressure when the China Communication and Construction Co Ltd, which was building the port city, demanded USD 143 million as compensation for the stalling of the work. The Sri Lankan government was also compelled to renegotiate the Colombo Port city project last year, which had been suspended due to criticism about the Chinese ownership of 20 hectares of freehold land as well as controversy over the project’s possible negative environmental impact” (Smruti S. Pattanaik – ‘New Hambantota Port Deal: China Consolidates its Stakes in Sri Lanka’ 17.08.2017).

This story should be worrying for the Philippines as the rising debt to China will come to roost one day. Duterte has accepted and taken it for his projects, but will it be sustainable. That is something he himself should ask himself and also if they can repay this debt without paying a high price.

Jovito Jose P. Katigbak reported in June 2018 this: “Another issue worth noting is debt sustainability. There are concerns that borrowing heavily from China will lead the country into a debt trap. A 2017 Forbes article contends that the Philippine government debt could swell up to USD 452 billion by 2027, which translates to a debt-to-GDP ratio of 197 percent. The estimated figure is based on an annual 10 percent interest rate on loans levied by the Chinese government, hence tying the Philippines into a “virtual debt bondage”” (CIRSS Commentaries – ‘BRIDGING THE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT GAP THROUGH FOREIGN AID: A BRIEFER ON CHINESE ODA’ June 2018).

If the Filipino doesn’t get to worried about the amount they are borrowing from China. It isn’t only Sri Lanka who has eaten over more debt than they can swallow and has to repay with other means. There are worry in the Pacific island of Tonga.

As reported from Tonga: “Chinese aid in the Pacific region has increased dramatically in recent years and the country has become the region’s second-largest donor. Tonga’s debt to China has been estimated to be more than $100m by Australia’s Lowy Institute think-tank. The prime minister told local media last week that countries would get together to ask the Chinese government to “forgive their debts”. “To me, that is the only way we can all move forward, if we just can’t pay off our debts,” he added. Beijing has refused to write off loans in the past but has given Tonga an amnesty on repayments” (Simone Rench – ‘Tonga premier to ask China to ‘forgive’ Pacific debts’ 21.08.2018 link: https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2018/08/tonga-premier-ask-china-forgive-pacific-debts).

We have seen what the Chinese done to the Sri Lankan and Tongan counterparts. Both of instances could be happening to the Philippines. Not that you wish that, but the repayments of the growing debt will happen at one point. Even if there is long grace-period of lower rates on the interests as promised to Manila. You can wonder when the Beijing want to recoup the funds and the debt.

Right now, Duterte has a good relationship with Beijing, but when do they feel they have invested enough in the Build! Build! Build! (BBB) projects and wants profits and returns on the investments?

Because the Chinese will not do this forever. They might act nice at first and investing in infrastructure projects as a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but when time goes by and lack of repayment hits the fan. The familiar faces of Beijing will get their value for the money and the sovereignty will be taken away. As a port, a piece of mines or exploration of some sort of industrial output will go directly to Beijing and a state owned company. Since they will get their repayment for all the offered debt to the nation.

That is what Duterte is risking, if it is oil exploration and extraction, mineral resources or even ports that is vital to the business done in the Philippines. Does he wants to risk that for the signature building of the BBB?

Peace.

China-Uganda relationship benefits the Chinese, BoU Paper states!

This should not surprise you, that the Chinese government and their subsidiary businesses are making sure they are gets the best deal with the Ugandan counterparts. The Bank of Uganda policy paper are spelling out the advantages for the Chinese in the bilateral and the state-to-state offerings given to the Ugandans. They are clearly getting infrastructure loans and plyaing minor rolse in GVCs, therefore, the Ugandans are people loaning for infrastructure and then repaying, while the Chinese contractors and Chinese labor are working on the indebted projects. Just take a look, it is not a positive read!

It should be emphasised, however, that for Uganda to leverage the shifting growth dynamics in China (such as a shrinking labour force, rising wages and an appreciated Renminbi), it must create a conducive investment climate. Low wages and a competitive exchange rate alone will not make much difference without reliable power and transport links, or in the face of suffocating bureaucracy and corruption” (Bank of Uganda, P: 6, 2017).

With the migration of labour-intensive manufacturing shifting from China and an improvement in investment climate, Uganda also stands to expand its involvement in global trade, including Global Value Chains (GVCs). Historically, countries like Uganda have played a relatively minor role in GVCs. Figure 5 below, which illustrates a useful measure of Uganda’s integration in GVCs, relative to other sub-Saharan countries, indicates that Uganda is below the average value-chain position for developing countries” (Bank of Uganda, P: 6, 2017).

It must be pointed out that while China has emerged as a significant financer of infrastructure projects in Africa, it still lags behind both private investment and the more traditional sources of funding. Recent research actually reveals that, over the past few years, China has contributed about only one-sixth of the US$30 billion Africa receives annually as external finance for infrastructure” (…) “Moreover, most of this financing to the transport and energy sector takes the form of state-to-state, non-concessional deals and comes from the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank). Examples of the major state-to-state deals signed with China Exim Bank in Uganda include: US$1.4 billion and US$483 million for Karuma and Isimba hydropower dams as well as US$350 million for the construction of the Kampala-Entebbe express highway” (Bank of Uganda, P: 7-8, 2017).

For Uganda, which has so far committed up to US$ 2.3 billion in contracts with China Exim bank and is soon to take on more debt for projects like the Standard Gauge Railway, debt sustainability is a growing issue of concern; underscored by the fact that the country faces a low tax-to-GDP ratio relative to its regional peers and significant public investment challenges. Uganda’s debt as a percentage of revenues has risen by 54% since 2012 and is expected to exceed 250% by 2018, raising calls for caution and improved public investment management from various policy circles including the IMF, World Bank and Moody’s, which downgraded Uganda’s long-term bond rating in 2016 citing deteriorating debt affordability” (Bank of Uganda, P: 10, 2017).

This here report shows both the possible troubles with the debt, that already are problem with current budget, but will become bigger. Secondly, that the relationship and bilateral business agreements with China, will only benefit China and not Uganda. As they might get the infrastructure projects, but they have to repay the debt and also use funds on labor from the Chinese contractors and businesses. They are not hiring and educating locals to work these sorts, because Chinese are getting their own hired.

This here is not bringing positive results, but instead are being a nice debt collector for China and will be indebted to them. While the Ugandans gets scarps from the Chinese, as the infrastructure projects like the Dam they have bought on debt, has been said is “shoddy” work. That proves the Chinese gets easy money, get expat workers and later returns on every single Yen. Peace.

Reference:

Dollar, David; Mugyenyi, Akura & Ntungire, Nicole – ‘How can Uganda benefit from China’s economic rise?’ (August 2017) – International Growth Centre Uganda & Bank of Uganda

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