【New Vision】Ssekandi roots for more African collaboration with China
The Vice President Edaward Kiwanuka Ssekandi has called for admission of more African Cities in the China International Friendship Cities saying that African cities need to learn from the experiences of the rest of the world on how to manage the challenges they are facing in making cities safe and convenient.
Ssekandi who was today addressing delegates from over 80 cities in the Chinese Island city of Huwan pointed out that with over I billion people on the African continent, the next 50 years are going to be crucial as the continent undergoes urbanisation but will need support to ensure that the right facilities are provided for the increasing urban populations.
He said the Sino -Africa relations has grown strong since the late fourties and appreciated China for standing with Africa during the continent struggle for independence citing the development of Tanzania – Zambia railway line that lifted a blockade on Zambia by the colonial administration.
Ssekandi noted that China companies and parastatals are doing great work in Africa’s infrastructure development saying for Uganda, China is now the leading source of foreign direct investment (FDI) saying Uganda was happy with the progress in the bilateral relations but also the increasing people to people connections.
He also commended the leadership of Hubei Province and Wuhan city in particular for twining with Entebbe Municipality and also for the last two years taking a lead role in the Dragon Boat festivals in Uganda by sending Jianghan university teams to the Dragon boat races.
The Vice President invited more Chinese companies to visit Uganda saying although Uganda may seem a relatively small country compared to China it uniquely endowered its division into two hemispheres, its hard working and welcoming people and also centrally located on the continent for business.
He said having the world second longest river, the second largest fresh water lake, third highest mountain, climbing lions, and mountain Gorillas, Uganda also allows free repatriation of profits saying investing in Uganda was good for business but also allows investors to relax in the serene environment.
Speaking during the same event held at the Wuhan Intercontinental convention Centre, China Vice President Wang Qishan said that friendship among cities has been an old Chinese tradition of putting cities and urban areas at the centre of socio-economic interaction and planning.
Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi with his Chinese counterpart Wang Qishan during their sideline meeting in Wuhan
He said that the co-operation among cities brings on board different opportunities capacities and capabilities saying city relations can facilitate easing tensions among states hence promoting peace and shared future for human kind.
Wang observed that local Governments play a crucial role in promoting socio-economic aspirations of any society saying leaders and systems at that level are more flexible and called for inclusiveness and transparency tenets he enumerated as absent in most local governments.
The Forum was also addressed by the Governor of Hubei, Fu- Zhifang, Japan former Prime Minister Dr. Yukio Hatoyama, President USA sister states collaboration Stency Dallyn and the Chairperson China peoples friendship with foreign counties Li Xiaolin among others.
The Vice President who is the Chairman of China Africa Local Governments Forum earlier held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart with whom they discussed issues of bilateral interest between the two countries. The meeting was also attended by Uganda Ambassdor, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga.