Chinese firm lobbies for Kampala-Jinja Expressway

President Yoweri Museveni has held discussions with a Chinese delegation from China Railway 17th Bureau Group Co. Ltd, led by the group’s chairman for Africa region, He Ping. During the meeting that took place on Saturday at the President’s country home in Rwakitura, Kiruhura district, the President and his visitors discussed infrastructure development.

These developments include the construction of the proposed Kampala-Jinja Expressway. The Kampala-Jinja Expressway is one of the five road projects identified in the Vision 2040 and National Development Plan II as critical for the economic development of Uganda.

Partnership

He Ping told President Museveni that if given the opportunity, they would partner with a local contractor to have the expressway successfully constructed. Museveni welcomed the company’s idea of a local partnership, saying the move would help the country reduce financial resources flight out of the country to external contractors.

“I am glad you are proposing a joint venture with a local company. We do not want too much money going out of the country because of using only foreign companies,” he told the Chinese delegation.

Museveni said it was only fair to have a joint venture with a government company. He, therefore, directed the finance minster, Matia Kasaija and other government agencies, to discuss the proposal advanced by the Chinese team.

China Railway 17th Bureau Group Co. Ltd, formerly called the Seventh Division of the Railway Corps, was established in 1952. It is engaged in the construction of roadbeds, bridges, tunnels, airports, field road projects and urban rail traffic engineering. In Africa, they have running projects in Tanzania, Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Zambia and Nigeria.

 Interested companies

The Kampala-Jinja expressway project to cost an estimated $1.4b (about sh5.2 trillion) has attracted completion from international companies. The 95km highway will link Kampala and Jinja. European, Turkish and Chinese firms, in four consortia, are already battling for the expressway project contract.

The winner will build and operate the tolled road for 30 years. The Uganda National Roads Authority last week announced the four shortlisted consortia, picked from an original field of eight. The four include China Communications Construction Co./ China First Highway Engineering Co; KJ Connect (Portugal)/Vinci Concessions (France)/Mota-Engil (Portugal); Strabag (Austria)/IC Ictas (Turkey) and CCKS, a joint venture of Chinese and South Korean firms.

The winner is expected to raise $800m (about sh2.9 trillion), with the remainder supplied by the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency and the European Union. The expressway is part of the Northern Corridor that links Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, Bloomberg said