Creating a functioning health system for all: Lessons from China.

By Joseph Nyero

A heath system comprises all organisations, institutions and resources that produce actions whose purpose is to achieve good health. Its building blocks include; governance, human resource, health information, health finance, service delivery, medicines, vaccines and appropriate technology.

All these components work together interrelatedly with an intrinsic goal of providing good health. A breach in one of them make lead to the collapse of the whole system. Take for instance, if there is not health finance, the medicine will not be bought and the service delivery will be poor. It is therefore vital to develop the system as a whole and to do a full systems analysis if there is need to fix any problems in a health system.

Several studies have confirmed that having well-functioning health systems is a forward in eliminating unnecessary and controllable deaths.

While it is not like a picnic to build a strong and good health system, we can borrow a leaf from some of developing countries that have succeeded in this aspect.  China for example had its first health system reform in 1996. The effectiveness and efficiency of the reform was questioned after a couple of years because people still had the same problems, they had in the first place.

They still had high out of the pocket expenditure, most of them didn’t have health insurance. A large proportion of the people couldn’t afford the health that they needed. In a closer look, these are almost the same problems faced by the health system in developing countries like Uganda.

People at times have to sell off their assets just to afford medical care which pushes them right to poverty even if they had escaped the poverty line. It is important that we look not only at prescription drugs but also make sure that health care is a major focus.

Following a failure from a top research institute, the former reform of 1996 had failed. China then embarked on planning another reform in 2007 where they consulted and worked with very many of their ministries. In 2009, the central committee of the communist party of china issued a policy. Its major aim was universal health coverage by 2020 through strengthening health care delivery, health security and provision of essential medicines. This policy reform is a long-term endeavor but the returns are worth the investments. Even when it is quite challenging for the African setting, we ought to start on our own reforms. Like the Chinese say, a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.

In order to get the job done, the state council set up a state council health systems reform office where the activities of the reform would be coordinated. The following were the policy reforms.

Under social health security, the social health insurance package was extended, medical aid was extended to the eligible poor and those with catastrophic medical expenditure.

The payment system was also reformed. Through this, 95% of the population has been covered by health insurance schemes by the end of 2017 and catastrophic health insurance introduced in all provinces.

Such a system in Uganda would reduce the burden of out of the pocket health expenditure. Often a times I have seen families who just take their patients back home because they can’t afford any more bills.

These people die from cases that could have been well managed if they had some form of insurance. Such a policy in Uganda would thus reduce mortality.

For the essential drugs, the new policy promoted rational use of antibiotics, removing price mark ups of drug and reforming the drug procurement system. This decreased the unnecessary use of anti-biotics and also made the drugs more accessible to the public. One of the issues in Uganda is over use of antibiotics which will eventually lead to resistance.

It bothers me a lot when I see how a wonder drug like ceftriaxone is used in cases where a milder antibiotic would work just fine. Antibiotic resistance is real and a day can come when a drug that did magic can no longer do a thing. A good example is penicillin. When it was discovered in 1928, it greatly improved mortality. Right now, bugs can have it for lunch! Such a policy in Uganda would not only reduce unnecessary bills on antibiotics but also delay the incidence of resistance.

As a doctor, sometimes I have had to walk through the pharmacies in Kampala to determine their prices. This is because I know that’s the first question patients ask upon presenting to them the treatment options. And from the search, the prices are shockingly different. I then send my patients to the cheapest pharmacy for the respective drugs. If we had a policy like the one China put up where the prices are controlled, medical care would be cheaper.

People even opt for traditional medicine that ends up messing their livers and kidneys the more. This is worse if the patient presented with a liver or kidney failure and they add on herbs to the problem. The people actually don’t want the herbs, they just can’t afford the modern medicine.

On the policy for primary health care, the Chinese government increased the capacity for training and created contracting systems for general practitioners. This was able to increase the number of doctors and improve health care. One of the major challenges in the developing countries like ours is few doctors and poor recruitment by governments. Having such a policy would increase the number of training institutes and ensure more doctors while also providing new jobs to the staff in the institutes. Another reason patients avoid government hospitals in Uganda is the long waiting time. This would provide a solution to this as there would be many doctors seeing the patients.

The other policy introduced by the Chinese to strengthen its health system was basic public health package. Here the government provided subsidies and promoted programs that control the main public health concerns. This made the bills cheaper and reduced the occurrence of non-communicable diseases. As indicated earlier, high bills are still a problem for Uganda. Non-communicable diseases are also on the rise in developing countries.

The last policy was about public hospitals. Through this, they encouraged the creation of consortium or alliances of healthcare providers. They also established a tiered health system where every healthcare provider knew exactly what its functions are. They also encouraged the use of clinical guidelines. This created an organized system with a standard of care that is uniform and a regulatory body. We have a clinical guideline in Uganda but it is not yet widely used and every doctor manages patients their way.

This makes some of the patients to get substandard care. In the Ugandan system, health center IVs are supposed to carryout surgeries but there are those which don’t. such a system would make every health center offer healthcare to the best of its abilities thereby helping reduce congestion at reginal and national health facilities where many tend to run even with cases that could be managed at health centers.

Upon emulation of such policies in to our setting, Uganda shall have tremendous health benefits. More people will visit and afford hospitals, poverty levels will drop, patient waiting time will decrease etc. the end result will be a good sustainable health system for all.

The writer is a research fellow at Development Watch Centre, a Foreign Policy Think Tank, and a fourth-year medical student at Makerere University.

 

Now that CHINA is here!

By Terence Kalule

Albert O. Hirschman once challenged Professor Nurkse asserting that “underdeveloped economies are called underdeveloped because they face a lack of resources, maybe not natural resources, but resources such as skilled labor and technology.”

China’s history makes her the perfect candidate to win ownership of not only her national success today, but also her global impact in regard to her development. If we may compare the figures, we can see China’s GDP worth 59 billion US dollars in the 1960s, having America’s worth at 543 billion US dollars. Quite a gap!

By 2018, it might not come as a surprise that this gap gets even closer to surpassing, when China’s GDP is worth $13 trillion and that of U.S standing at $20 trillion. With such a fast-rising trend, China is anticipated to be the world’s number 1 economic superpower there’ll be by 2025. This development and more to come, is the result of a China whose growth has been through a furnace literally, melting and remodeling self into the image she is today.

Worth noting is that China’s history is not free from hardships. Like many other developing countries especially from the global south like African countries, China too suffered colonialism and brutal foreign invasion that cost the country tens of thousands of innocent lives as well as the country losing some of her territory to foreign aggressors.
Case in point is the result of foreign invasion that resulted into the so-called Opium War, which China lost to the United Kingdom (UK). Under coercion by UK’s warship, Qing Dynasty agreed to sign the treaty of Nanking thereby ceding her own Island of Hong Kong to the UK.

It is important to observe that the first opium war launched by British against Chinese people was completely uncalled for and is a textbook example of how dangerous imperialism can be! The British waged this war against Chinese people simply because the Chinese had resisted opium trade. The UK interpreted Chinese resistance to partake opium trade as disrespect and encroaching on tenets of free trade. Arguably, this points at capitalists’ voracity and sheer disregard of human dignity when their interests are threatened.

Like African countries that suffered humiliating foreign domination including slave trade, and brutal supersession of struggles for self-rule; China too for long suffered the wrath of foreign invaders. In 20th century, the country braved what some historians described as one of most wanton destruction of humanity in Asia as Japan fought China.

It can be argued that it is China’s history characterized by suffering at hands of foreign invasion that gave birth to the Chinese view that it is only through self-reliance that a country can realize dreams of its people. This idea of self-reliance is what China’s founding father Chairman Mao Zedong encouraged in China!

Mao closed off China from the rest of the world for close to 30 years. During his rule, stock exchanges were banned, diplomatic and economic relations with the capitalist west were put to an end! China was completely self-reliant in terms of finance, food and goods. Everyone shared wealth, and the collective community was represented by the state. China at the time had about 542 million people whose retreat had her rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

However, this did not stop China from supporting struggles against foreign domination especially in Africa. An instance is seen in the 1960s. China put aside more than $400M to support construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway line also known as TAZARA. At this time, the rest of the world saw the development as masochistic since at that time, China’s economy was weak that its total GDP was lower compared to that of Sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, in proceeding years till late 1978, China’s per capita GPD was about $156M while that of Sub-Saharan Africa stood at $490M. With such facts at hand, one can conclude that despite challenges, China has always believed in standing shoulder to shoulder with African countries.

China’s economic game changer came with the country’s open-door policy. The establishment of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) played a key role and many experts describe it as the engine to China’s economic development. These zones had a special autonomy compared to elsewhere in China. From these zones, factories exported goods to the rest of the world. Importers were able to trade with other countries. One of these zones is famous for possessing the world’s largest toy production facility. China exports 41% of the world’s computers, 34% of all air conditioners & 70% of the world’s cell phones; her economy accounting for 18.6% of the global gross domestic product as of 2018.

The 2008 global financial crisis left no stone unturned. All nations got back to the drawing board to find means of revamping the economy. China’s economy collapsed too when there was a lack of market globally, resorting to targeting domestic consumers to boost production, as well as investing in developing nations in Africa and Asia.

Technologically, “the US has already lost the Artificial Intelligence race”. And this was reason good enough for Nicolas Chaillan, US Pentagon’s first Chief Software Officer, to be angry and later resign from his position recently on October 2; as he couldn’t stand the slow pace of technological transformation in the US military. “Whether it takes a war or not, is kind of anecdotal”. “We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal”, he said.

Through fore fronting certain sectors in her economy, and putting wellbeing of her citizens first, China has been able to make it this far. This growth, overtime, exhibits the bits in which China mastered the art of prioritization when she rooted her faith deep; in optimizing her natural and human resources, strategically tapping into what the technological milieu had to offer as well as an effective administration of a population so huge.

The Human Development Index (HDI) which emphasizes how people and their capabilities play a role in development assessment of a nation and not economic growth alone; Ranks China in the 85th position out of 189 countries, with 0.761 points as of 2019.
With the 5th industrial revolution so close, one whose partakers must be fluent in technology, after eradicating complete poverty; China is in a promising position to be valedictorian of this class. On February 25 this year, Chinese president Xi Jinping declared “Complete victory in eradicating poverty” in China, which the development UN secretary general described as a big success.

What lessons do Low Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) draw from China’s economic growth, and what opportunities are laid on table for citizens in countries running China-invested projects/partnerships? LMIC with low productivity and low capital accumulation barely stand a chance to escape Nurkse’s vicious cycle of poverty. Chinese investments in these countries therefore partly plays the role of a vent to the portal leading out of this poverty trap.
It’s the time for not only governments of LMIC but also citizens under democratic systems to make hay while the sun shines, taking advantage of and optimizing an overflow of opportunities from these Chinese partnerships, as a short cut to boosting internal development.

Terence Kalule is a research fellow with Development Watch Centre; a Foreign Policy Think Tank, and a health education enthusiast.

50 Years of China at UN: true multilateralism and building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

By Allawi Ssemanda.

Yesterday, 25th of October marked 50 years since United Nations’ (UN) 26th session of the General Assembly passed Resolution number 2758 restoring full rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. The resolution meant that only representatives sent by Beijing were the only legitimate representatives of the country. To Chinese people, this was a huge victory and arguably a victory to entire world especially the Global South.

Despite being a founding member of the UN and one of only 5 permanent members of the UN and Chinese delegation which included Dong Biwu on behalf of Communist Party of China signing the Charter of the United Nations in June 1945, representatives of defeated Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomingtang government still occupied China’s seat at UN despite the country having new leadership. Resolution 2758 which was sponsored by Albania, Algeria and other 21 countries meant that China’s rights at UN were restored and representatives of Kuomingtanga were expelled with only representatives of PRC government being reorganised as the only legitimate representatives of China to the UN. Uganda is among other countries that overwhelming supported China’s return to the UN.

In many ways, this resolution was a turning point and a good move for the well-being of all UN member countries especially developing countries and entire global south. Since regaining her rightful seat at the UN, China has always used its position at UN both as a member and one of only five countries with permanent position to vote in support of developing countries. China also on many occasions has used her position at the UN to defend Africa and other developing countries’ sovereignty with Beijing’s non-interference policy in affairs of other independent countries. For example, using its position at UN as a permanent member, when the U.S lead invasion of Libya allegedly to defend human rights citing resolution 1676 which calls for Responsibility to Protect (R2P), China and other countries proposed Responsibility While Protecting (RWP) arguing that if a country invades another on pretext of R2P, that country should be held to account to ensure lives and property of people and their rights are protected since most interventions often result into disastrous wars as was the case in Iraq and Libya among others. Also, International politics experts argues that responsible protection is important explaining that it would help in case of any foreign interference or invasion in affairs of another country, intervening countries take responsibility and be held to account in case of any violations.

Put differently, despite enjoying veto powers as a permanent member, China has always respected and supported principal of fairness, justice and respecting international laws and norms which calls for respect for all independent UN member countries. The Chinese believe in equality nonmatter one’s country, colour or race. If taken from the former Chinese leader’s words Deng Xiaoping; “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” In other words, it doesn’t matter whether the country is big, rich or small. Provided it is an independent country, its territories and people must be respected.

Indeed, speaking during a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the People’s Republic of China’s lawful seat in the United Nations, president Xi Jinping was clear. “We should vigorously advocate for peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity, and work together to provide the right guiding philosophy for building a better world. Peace and development are our common cause, equity and justice our common aspiration, and democracy and freedom our common pursuit. The world we live in is diverse and colorful. Diversity makes human civilization what it is, and provides a constant source of vitality and driving force for world development.” In this context, The Chinese have taught us that despite our differences, we must strive to live in peace and harmony while respecting each other.  Quoting a Chinese saying, President Xi observed that “Without achieving the good of one hundred various schools, the uniqueness of one individual cannot be achieved. No civilization in the world is superior to others; every civilization is special and unique to its own region.”

For the last fifty years, China and Chinese people in general have proved to the world especially developing countries China’s readiness and willingness to work together for the well-being of mankind. From supporting the construction of Tanzania-Zambia railway line also known as Tazara Railway in 1960s when China was a poor country to today’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Beijing is a friend in need.  BRI has so far improved infrastructure in more than 141 countries and about 32 international organizations. World Bank and experts from other organizations project that BRI will on top of easing transportation of goods and services across the world, the project has provided employment opportunities to thousands of people in countries implementing the project.

In support world’s health sector, as the world’s largest developing country, China is the second largest contributor to World Health Organisation’s annual budget. Taking the example of containing the current Covid-19 pandemic, as the rest of developed countries embrace vaccine nationalism, as of today, China has contributed over 1.2 billion doses of vaccines to more than 100 developing countries. This is in addition to Beijing $100 million to Covax program. From all the above and Chinese example, we learn that to succeed, countries must work together for the well-being of their people. As president Xi observed while marking China’s return to UN; “The human race is an integral community and Earth is our common homeland. No person or country can thrive in isolation. Humanity should overcome difficulties in solidarity and pursue common development in harmony.”

From security perspective, China has also played a leadership role in ensuring the world is a peaceful place to live in. Since 1990, China has deployed over 50,000 peacekeepers under the UN in over 25 UN peacekeeping missions including in South Sudan. Today, China is the largest UN peace keeping contributor with over 2,500 personnel deployed in different UN peace operations. China is also the second world’s largest contributor of UN budget contributing 12%.

The writer is the executive director of Development Watch Centre, a foreign policy think tank, and author of Why Africa Deserves a Permanent Seat on United Nations Security Council.

 

 

 

Karuma Hydropower Plant to Guarantee Uganda’s Steady Progress, Thanks to Chinese Investments

By Herbert Kamoga
According to The World Bank, one billion people, mostly concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, live their daily lives without electricity. This represents a fundamental barrier to progress for a sizable proportion of the world’s population, and has impacts on a wide range of development indicators, including health, education, food security, gender equality, livelihoods, and poverty reduction.

The number of people gaining access to electricity has been accelerating since 2010 to around 118 million each year, but these efforts will need to accelerate if the world is going to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7, ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

In 1995, the government of Uganda planned to construct a hydropower station at the site of the Karuma Falls. The feasibility study report was made available in October 2006. In July 2011, it was discovered that the maximum capacity of the project was 600 megawatts.

The government of Uganda is now undertaking the construction of the largest hydroelectricity dam at Karuma, a run-of-the-river project is being built on the River Nile downstream of Lake Kyoga in Kyandongo district, 270km from Kampala. Construction of the plant commenced in December 2013.

The USD 1.7 billion project is largely funded by Export and Import (EXIM) Bank of China and implemented by China’s Sino Hydro Power Company. China EXIM Bank extended a loan equal to 85% of the project cost, while the remaining 15% is financed by the Government of Uganda.

The plant is divided into six major components namely a dam section, power intake unit, powerhouse, transformer cavern, surge chamber, pressure shafts, cable shaft and two tail-race tunnels for returning water circulating through the turbines back to the river.

The Installed Capacity of Uganda’s electricity generation increased to 1,177MW in March 2019, following the commissioning of the Isimba Hydro Power Plant (HPP) that added 183 MW to the national grid. With the commissioning of Karuma power plant expected in June 2022, hydropower generation in Uganda will soon stand at 1,868MW which guarantees Uganda’s development.

Over the last 59 years, Uganda has made significant development progress. Since the mid 1980’s, the economy has moved from recovery to growth. A number of economic policies and programs have been successfully implemented leading to a boost in economic growth. Since 2002, the economy grew consistently at an average of 6.4 percent and has since built sufficient momentum for takeoff.

Uganda Vision 2040 provides development paths and strategies to operationalize Uganda’s Vision statement which is “A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years” as approved by Cabinet in 2007. It aims at transforming Uganda from a predominantly peasant and low income country to a competitive upper middle income country.

The strategies include;
To generate affordable electricity, the Government will develop all the hydro power potential which is estimated at 4500MW along the various rivers. This will include small, mini and large hydro power plants. In addition, the government will put in place mitigation measures, especially protection of water catchments, to ensure that the water resources are sufficient to produce the power.

Uganda’s Vision 2040 indicates that Energy and in particular electricity is a driver of socio economic transformation of a nation. Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea that have attained faster growth have used modern energy to drive industrialization and service sectors. This necessitated generation and development of sufficient sources of energy to drive those economies. For Uganda to shift from a peasantry to an industrialized and largely urban society, it must be propelled by electricity as a form of modern energy.

To achieve the targets of this Vision, Uganda will develop and generate modern energy to drive the industry and services sectors. It is estimated that Uganda will require 41,738 MW by 2040 thus increasing its electricity per capita consumption to 3,668 kWh. Furthermore the access to the national grid must significantly increase to 80 per cent.

According to the Minister for Energy and Mineral development, Ruth Nankabirwa, Karuma Hydro power Dam will improve access and availability of electricity to the rural and urban areas, especially to economic zones and other productive areas.
“Upon completion, this plant will contribute greatly to the country’s total installed capacity and therefore we have to ensure we connect more Ugandans to the national grid,” Nankabirwa said.

Adding that “they have been complaining that they have been seeing wires passing by them and that they are the ones hosting the plant but they are not being connected, I just want to assure them that they will be connected that provision has been out in place”

Nankabirwa while inspecting the progress of the works at the power station assured the country that the work is 98.8% complete.

She explained that the major ongoing works at the power station entail embedment concrete for the tracks of the maintenance crane and concrete for the pavement layer atop the dam block.

Achievements realized include the unit 5 ring gate oil pressure unit that was commissioned. The unit 5 shaft seal water system was also commissioned. In addition, the unit 6 ring gate hydro static tests were completed.

The power will be evacuated from six step-up transformers to the national grid through three major transmission lines. These are the 400kV Karuma-Kawanda line (248km), 400kV Karuma- Olwiyo (55km) and 132kV Karuma-Lira line (75km).

Nankabirwa said the project will also improve electricity access, lower transmission losses, increase power efficiency, reliability, stability and quality of supply countrywide. It is also expected to evacuate power from upcoming solar fields and other power plants.

Kamoga Herbert, is a journalist and a research fellow at, Development Watch Centre think tank.

 

Uganda-China 59 years of diplomatic relations

Akunzirwe Conrad

This week, Uganda and China marked celebrated 59 years since the two countries establishment diplomatic ties.  It is important to recall that China recognized Uganda as a newly independent Nation just a few days after Uganda was declared an independent country setting a stage for many other independent nations to follow the suit.  Since then, bilateral relations between the two countries have been growing from strength to strength that today, several Chinese diplomats have always emphasized that Beijing gives priority to its relations with Kampala.

Since 1962, Uganda and China continue to enjoy good relations. In 1971, Uganda was one of 76 Nations that voted to support UN resolution 2758 backing China’s membership at the UN.

Since the National Resistance Movement government came to power in 1986, the bilateral cooperation between China and Uganda has grown and China has supported Uganda in many ways contributing to the countries social, economic, and political growth. As discussed, below one can argue that today, China’s role in Uganda’s development efforts cannot be ignored:

Today, Uganda investments Authority figures indicate that China is Uganda’s top source of Foreign direct investments (FDI.) The two brotherly countries have on many occasions signed agreements that support their mutual benefits.

In the education sector, Uganda has benefited from China’s generous gesture of supporting the country’s education. Every year, China gives over 100 scholarships to Ugandan students to pursue education in China in different fields. This education support which includes undergraduate courses, masters, and Ph.D. is important to support considering that the development of human capital is one of the major steps any country must consider if it is to attain development. This education support is also extended to sometimes senior government officials, and technocrats. Earlier this month, the Chinese embassy in Uganda contributed 50 million shillings towards the rebuilding of Makerere university’s main building which was destroyed by fire in September 2000.

From the manufacturing sector, many Chinese firms and factories are dealing in the production of various goods in the country. With the cooperation of Chinese firms, the government of Uganda was able to establish a flourishing industrial park in different parts of the country including the establishment of Africa Shandong industrial park, Sino-Uganda industrial park in Mbale, the China-Uganda Agricultural Cooperation industrial park, among others. These industrial parks have in many ways contributed to Uganda’s economic development by creating employment opportunities for thousands of Ugandans. In economic terms, these firms are playing a pivotal role as far as Uganda’s vision 2040 of creating an industrious country is concerned. For example, in Kapeeka industrial park, these firms are now producing building tiles of which many are exported to neighboring countries thereby earning the country foreign currency.

In the health sector, the good diplomatic relations between the two countries have seen Uganda benefit from Chinese medical assistance. The construction of China-Uganda Friendship Hospital, Nagulu is a vivid example of china’s medical diplomacy in Uganda. Today, as the country is celebrating the 59th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries, the ministry of health spokesperson Ainebyoona Emmanuel announced on his Twitter account that Uganda is receiving seven hundred doses of Sinovac vaccines which is another huge support as the country intestines efforts in ensuring that many Ugandans get vaccinated as government’s plant to fully re-open the economy. This is the second batch China is giving to Uganda having given the country 300,000 doses in July this year.  As medics say, the highest ethical act one can do is to save a life, with the ravaging covid-19 pandemic, health experts have argued that the only effective way for countries to effectively defeat this pandemic world over will be through mass vaccination of people. Considering vaccines nationalism especially by rich countries which has seen many developing countries unable to access provide-19 vaccines on markets, one can argue that China’s donation of 700,000 vaccines doses is a big boost to Uganda’s vaccination campaign.

In the infrastructure sector, China has provided its full support to Uganda in terms of the construction of roads. China has supported Uganda’s infrastructure sector especially the construction of roads. The Uganda government believes an improved road network will help the country develop by easing transportation of goods and services in the country. Further, China has also supported Uganda’s energy infrastructure development by extending credit facilities. For example, with the support of a loan from China’s Exim Bank, Uganda was able to construct  Isimba hydro dam which increased the country’s electricity generation. Also, the Karuma hydropower dam which is nearing completion is being funded by China’s Exim bank. In conclusion, the diplomatic relations between Uganda and China have contributed greatly to Uganda’s social and economic development.

Conrad Akunzirwe is a research fellow with Development Watch Centre, a Foreign Policy Think Tank, and a law student at Strathmore University, Nairobi.

 

 

Sino-Uganda relations date back as early as 1962 when Uganda attained her independence.

By Octave Ngabo

These relations have grown since to considerably that today, China is Uganda’s top source of Foreign direct investments (FDI).

The two nations have signed multiple cooperation agreements, exchanging students, medical teams among others all meant to help Uganda build her human capital.

It is therefore imperative to say that the two countries have excellent relations that are of mutual benefit.

In terms of economic relations, The Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to which Uganda belongs was established in 2000 following a meeting between eighty African ministers and the Chinese leadership in Beijing.

The forum established a program of cooperation between African countries and China in areas such as investment, financial cooperation, debt relief, and cancellation, agriculture cooperation, natural resources and energy, education, and multilateral cooperation.

This cooperation has been of great developmental impact on Uganda’s economy. Many African countries Uganda inclusive have already enjoyed fruits of this cooperation.

In terms of trade between Uganda and China, the volume has grown and stands at US$558 million and China is Uganda’s largest trading patter. Uganda’s exports to China totalled up to US$39.61 million during 2020 according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

The major Ugandan exports to China are mainly agricultural products such as; oilseeds, grains, fruits, spices, coffee, tea, wood, and products of animal origin such as hides and skins.

China provides duty-free, quota-free access to its market to least developed countries including Uganda, and this, therefore, has created an opportunity for Ugandan traders to export to China due to its large market and incentives provided.

This has driven Ugandan exports high hence improving its balance of trade and balance of payment. China is also the second biggest importer to Uganda and in 2020, these imports were valued at US$1.35 billion.

The main imports included mainly electric and electronic equipment, machinery, iron and steel, textiles, chemicals, and plastics.

China is, therefore, a source of highly needed products in Uganda at relatively cheap prices and these products have helped drive up economic development and the importation business from China is a source of employment to many Ugandans as observed by various small-scale traders in many arcades and malls in Ugandan towns.

In terms of manufacturing, many Chinese firms have established several factories and helped the Ugandan government to establish industrial parks such as the Sino Uganda Mbale industrial park, Africa Shandong Industrial Park, and the China-Uganda Agricultural Cooperation Industrial Park.

These industrial parks have helped drive up the level of industrialization in Uganda, hence diversifying Uganda’s economy.

Chinese-owned factories include electronics factories that produce electronic products at cheap prices locally, factories that carry out value addition to agricultural produces hence creating a market for the local farmers, and factories that manufacture timber products.

These factories have created employment opportunities for many Ugandans hence improving their livelihood. These factories have also led to a reduction in imports hence improving the balance of trade for Uganda.

China has emerged as a significant financier of infrastructure projects in Uganda. Most of this financing goes to the transport and the energy sectors and are financed through the China Exim bank.

Examples of these Chinese-funded projects include US$1.4 billion Karuma dam, US$483 million Isimba hydropower dam and the US$350 million construction of the Kampala-Entebbe express highway.

These projects are expected to speed up industrialization in Uganda due to the availability of cheap electric power and improved transport means. These projects have also created jobs for many Ugandans because 85% of the manpower on the projects are Ugandans.

In addition to these projects, many Chinese construction companies are undertaking various infrastructural projects in Uganda; a case in point is the Pearl Engineering Company Ltd.

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is overseeing the construction of a pipeline from oilfields in Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania and this will help to speed up the development of the oil sector in Uganda.

The ICT sector is another sector that has greatly benefitted from Sino-Uganda relations. Two Chinese companies have invested in Uganda’s ICT sector, one of them being Huawei. With the support of the Chinese government, these companies are working with telecommunication companies in Uganda to strengthen the country’s ICT sector.

In the media sector, Star times have got a hold of a reasonable share of the Ugandan market. It provides solutions to digital migration.

China has supported the education sector in Uganda by providing scholarship opportunities to Ugandan students in institutions of higher learning.

These scholarships have enabled knowledge sharing and cultural ties between the two countries. The Chinese embassy has also donated various materials such as computers and other scholastic materials to Ugandan schools.

In addition to this, the Chinese language has been approved as one of the foreign languages in Ugandan secondary schools to be taught and this, together with the setting up of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University has created cultural ties between the two nations.

Thousands of people including women, members of parliament, police officers have participated in training programs organized by the Chinese government in China and Chinese troupes have also visited Uganda and performed. This is a form of people-to-people and cultural exchange.

In the health sector, the Chinese government has funded the construction and equipping of the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital at Naguru. Teams of Chinese doctors have also visited the country and trained Ugandan medical personnel.

The agriculture sector has greatly benefitted from this Sino-Uganda relationship through the training of farmers, a project of the South-South cooperation program, which China and FAO have been collaborating with Uganda.

This has equipped local farmers with skills to improve their agricultural output. Around 3000 farmers have been trained and seven agriculture technology demonstration hubs have been established throughout the country, showcasing effective technologies in horticulture, livestock, cereals, aquaculture, renewable energy, agro machinery, value addition, and sustainable business models.

In conclusion, China has been a great development partner to Uganda in various sectors and through the provision of financial aid in form of loans, grants, and technical assistance.

China tops the list of planned FDI in Uganda and was valued at US$607 million in 2019 and created about 62,876 jobs. The Sino-Uganda relationship has therefore been paramount in Uganda’s economic development and will continue to play a critical role in this development.

Ngabo Octave is a junior researcher at Development Watch Centre, a Foreign Policy Think Tank, and a second-year Pharmacy student at Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

Uganda’s Vision 2040: China’s support in its attainability, colonialism talk is off point.

By Alan Collins Mpewo

In the wake of fast racing multilateral relations, the world countries have kept mowing their paths of prosperity and in scaling their economic stability, they’ve molded sustainable modules to attain that worthwhile goal. The industrial module keeps raising through the ranks and many countries that have globally harnessed it, are gradually appreciating its economic impact. The Republic of Uganda is equally taking on the challenge in a flagship project the country’s government termed as “Vision 2040.” Among other schemes, are the Chinese built Industrial Parks that will harbor these gigantic projects. However, in the same journey to attain the vision, criticism and talk about the ever-growing China-Uganda economic relations keep streaming. The so-called Chinese modern colonialism of the Global South is verbally being attached to the People’s Republic of China. But is the talk warranted?

Many don’t get to look at it or even think about it this way, but realizing the historical background and understanding of the term “Colonialism,” many wouldn’t apply it lightly. That understanding of the generic meaning of the term would just be an honest step to realization that its application as regards most of its economic policies towards Africa, is utterly a smearing spree to water down those good relations. It’s fair to state that what the Chinese government is doing or establishing in the African continent, and whether that befits the term “colonization,” should be a reserve for Africa’s inhabitants to determine and propagate a deserving response.

A sneak peek at what the actual colonialists did would point to indigenous settlers of Africa having forced to labour with figuratively no payment. Selling them as slaves, among other regrettable undertakings. That there, is a slight showcase of what colonialism is. The People’s Republic of China is supportive to African countries in as far as investing greatly in modern infrastructure to mention of, such as roads, airports, and buildings. The People’s Republic of China comes to this, at a time when much of the African continent continues suffering from decades of entrenched neocolonialism, stinking poverty, sociopolitical instability and deplorable corruption.

The People’s Republic of China looks at the world composed of numerous nations, all having own customs, socioeconomic systems, distinct in many forms, and are not inquisitive to alter. Its conception can fairly be seen as interested in finding a place in the middle kingdom. Being able to reach out so as offers can trade by them, perhaps as a World Trade Organ originating from the ancient silk route to the modern belt and road, or else they are in the middle of nowhere. African nations need direct foreign investment, compared to various other places. So the People’s Republic of China has massively impacted building infrastructure. Importantly to note, is that these projects by China in the African countries in which it has some presence, are endorsed as coming without political adversities. That stands out especially as regards the respect granted for national sovereignty of partner states.

In a report recently by the notable AidData research lab, College of William and Mary, Virginia, the Chinese Belt and Road projects are fundamental in reduction of income imbalances and inequality among regions in the nations in which they are set-up. The People’s Republic of China has seen the implementation of various infrastructure projects like the construction of energy dams, roads, and the expansion of the country’s National Airport – Entebbe International Airport, plus the development of industrial parks. Regarding the Industrial parks, these are gradually taking shape with new ones cropping up. Soon or later, the Standard Gauge Railway construction, a focus project for Uganda, will finally get its long-awaited completion. The construction of several of the above projects is Chinese financed.

Still on infrastructure, the 183MW Isimba Hydro Power Plant is complete, and this has been done by China’s Exim Bank that has funded about 85 percent of two major Ugandan energy projects — Isimba and Karuma dams. Meanwhile, construction works of the 600MW Karuma Hydro Power Plant is still ongoing. It furthermore financed and foresaw the building of Kampala’s $476 million Entebbe Express Highway that leads to the National Airport – Entebbe International Airport, which has greatly minimized driving time to more than half the time before its construction.

These Chinese funded projects’ impact cannot be taken lightly, because enhancement of transportation routes is an inevitable stepping stone to trade. However, the Uganda government has much more to offer and directly delve in, especially with the energy support systems that have since been launched. The Isimba and Karuma Dams escorted by the gradual construction of Industrial parks in different parts of the country calls for the need to expeditious ignition of an industrial module of achieving economic prosperity. Uganda’s exports to China are majorly agricultural, yet it imports much more finished goods from the People’s Republic of China. According to UN COMTRADE database on international trade, the Republic of Uganda exports to China were $39.61 Million in 2020. Much of it was in Oil seed, fruits, grain, and seed, to a tune of $18.01 Million. This creates a great void of trade imbalance, something that is constantly affecting Uganda’s economy. Such incredible relations between the two countries – Uganda and The People’s Republic of China, should be a stepping stone for Uganda.

The advantages of an industrial module, especially in a developing country with promising growth of major transport systems can not be overemphasized. The job pool to the various Ugandans with distinct skills and expertise, the retention of much money that goes to waste on imports, among others. Such an industrial model would also give justification for the loans acquired, whose outcomes would setoff a significant portion of the debt burden. In addition to Industrial support systems are peripheral projects by The People’s Republic of China like its financing of an oil pipeline project valued to over $4 billion, presently undergoing construction. The project will connect the western region of Uganda to the port at Tanga in the Republic of Tanzania. This will give Uganda – a landlocked country, access to the Indian Ocean. That access to the wide East of the globe will possibly streamline the chain of export from the full functional industries to world markets. The returns would accomplish enormous development for the Republic of Uganda.

Alan Collins Mpewo is a Research Fellow, with Development Watch Center, a foreign policy think tank, a fourth-year law student at IUIU.

Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou is a victim of market war and tec-nationalism

By Allawi Ssemanda

After spending nearly three years under house arrest in Canada, Huawei’s chief executive, Meng Wanzhou gained her freedom and was allowed to return to her home country, China.  Media reported that the decision to free her followed a deal between Meng, her legal team and U.S’ justice Department that Meng agrees to some wrong doing and be granted deferred prosecution. Before her release, Meng appeared before a Brooklyn, New York court via video link where she pleaded not guilty. The U.S requested Canada to arrest her alleging that she engaged herself in bank wire fraud by concealing information from Hong Kong based HSBS bank with intention of bypassing U.S sanctions and do business with Iran.

Meng’s legal team has always criticised her arrest and prosecution terming it political and that it “displays legal and factual defects rarely seen in fraud prosecutions, at least at the committal stage,” further arguing that the U.S side citing Trump administration abused what they called the “good faith” of the extradition process.

Meng’s arrest caused sharp dispute between Beijing and Ottawa on one hand and with Washington on the other as China insisted that the arrest was political and harassment of Chinese citizens. Indeed, Canadian ambassador to China then John McCallum was categorical,

publicly arguing that the U.S extradition request for Meng was seriously flawed and that it would be “great for Canada” if the U.S dropped the request. Just hours later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed Ambassador John McCallum from his ambassadorial role.

Nonmatter legal manoeuvrers and diplomatic words accusers front to defend Meng’s arrest and prosecution, critical analysis and the pattern before and after her arrest points at Washington’s tech-nationalism, the urge to expand her legal and political hegemony and geopolitical undertones. It can be argued that Meng’s arrest is arguably part of a broader scheme to drive her company – Huawei which is considered the world’s 5G leader out of market since it threatens traditional telecommunications firms’ strategic dominance.

It should be recalled that in January 2018, U.S’ National Security Council published a document and recommended that government review Huawei’s so-called threats in 5G area. Just after 2 months, U.S’ trade rep complained that China was using her tech firms to damage U.S interests.

In the same year, U.S amplified her campaigns against Huawei through public statements and legislate bills were introduced to ensure Huawei is kicked and locked outside U.S’ market as Washington campaigned amongst her allies to do the same. It is arguably not a coincidence that Meng was arrested in the same year, 1st December 2018. Indeed, at that time president Trump observed that Meng was pawn or a bargaining chip for the U.S to win some concessions from Beijing. When asked if he would consider releasing Meng should China accept Trump’s trade deal terms, president Trump observed; “If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.” From such, it is not far-fetched to conclude that Meng was arrested to be used as pawn in U.S’ trade war with China.

In May 2019, the U.S included Huawei on state department entity list thereby effectively blocking Google’s Android from working with Huawei before imposing “U.S foreign direct product” rule on Huawei thereby banning any oversea firm from using U.S origin patents to supply Huawei products.

The case which Justice Department alleges that Meng concealed rHuawei’s relationship with a subsidiary firm in Iran to bypassed Washington’s sanctions against Iran lack international laws backing. For a record, Meng was dealing with HSBC bank for her company’s business in Iran. Despite U.S’ secondary sanctions on companies doing business with Teheran, it is important to note that these are secondary sanctions and are unilateral and have never been tested based on international law and as such, no international legal frame work to force all countries to enforce such sanctions as it is when sanctions are imposed by United Nations.

In otherwards, U.S’ insistence that Meng’s Huawei doing business with a firm based in Iran is illegal is laughable. It is a textbook example of U.S’ hegemonic tendencies driven by their libido dominandi – the urge to dominate the world through bullying means.

Even the claims that Huawei is a security threat is not backed but U.S tech firms’ failure to outcompete Huawei’s technology. According to a study by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the U.S just worried that Chinese tech firms are taking over due to their steadfast investments in innovations; “the United States watched warily as China’s economic heft has grown and as the technological sophistication of its manufacturing base has increased.” For example, in Africa and entire global north, Huawei’ has a far wider market, a development that threatens U.S’ market.

The study further contends that, other than China,  no single country can outsmart Chinese tech firms in  technological innovations. In conclusion, one can conclude that Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou was arrested not for reasons Washington and Ottawa advanced but she was a victim of geopolitical fights, and U.S’ fear of a prospering tech giant – Huawei.  Despite what may have been tough times during her imprisonment, her arrest in one way or the other was a blessing in disguise for it tested Huawei’s resilience. Also, the unity of not just Chinese people but voices of people from different countries all over the world when it comes to standing with a person many thinks is unfairly targeted. From the humble gesture a Chinese college student who took a bouquet of flowers to Chinese Foreign ministry thanking Beijing for what she called government’s efforts in ensuring Meng is freed to collection of almost 15 million signatures from over 100 countries petitioning Canada to release Meng, this arrest should serve as an example that when you’re innocent, there are good people who will always stand by you. To Meng Wanzhou, welcome back to your homeland!

Allawi Ssemanda, is Executive Director of  DWC. 

 

China’s contribution in Digitalization of Uganda’s Television services: What is the reap of the common man

By Alan Collins Mpewo

Not so long ago, the Republic of Uganda through its Ministry of ICT, announced that Uganda was finally cutting ties with the analog television system. The Uganda Communications Commission then announced deadline for all television to go digital. Countrywide, for those that had enjoyed watching satellite free channels, would later have to forge a new relationship with digital television. The migration from analog television to digital television had finally set foundation. Looking back at the time, digitalization has indeed been appreciated by many Ugandans.

However, it’s worthy to note, that this announcement left a large fraction of television users (ardent and occasional) wondering on what capacity it would require one to join the new wave of migration. For some without the wherewithal, disinterest would seem likely for an option. To them, the I’s remained undotted, and the T’s not crossed. It meant something. It meant finding some more money to buy a Free-to-Air STB/decoder. Or buying an Integrated Digital Television set. Or buying a Pay TV STB/decoder.

It meant waking up to a new world of paying subscription fees to access their favorite television shows and their preferred programs. The exception of payment by Free to Air set top box owners (however these not being allowed to view Pay TV channels. It also raised concerns of maintenance, sustainability and affordability. It is fair they thought so because some of the widely known digital television service providers charged fees for access. But times have changed. The world has evolved. The Uganda television arena is widely digital.

There are numerous key players engaged with providing such services and enabling more Ugandans realize the magnificence of digitalization. The involvement of the People’s Republic of China cannot be over emphasized. The shifts continue to sound a message that technology is the future.

While in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China promised to have 10,000 African villages connected to satellite Television. In Uganda, the project has been on since 2018 and this has been through the connectivity of numerous places in Uganda (accessible and remote) with Startimes Television. It’s a tested digital television provider, efficient and affordable. For the common man, that’s celebratory in its core. The world brought closer. Digitalization. A pool by the People’s Republic of China. Such a splendid project has untold pros in it, but importantly is the access to information. No wonder access to information is a right embodied in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, because the architects knew its importance. Ignorance like many others, is a demon not worth keeping company. An informed society, is an empowered society. Indeed, knowledge is power.

The project by China to have households in the global south sparkling with digital television has greatly empowered most communities in the Republic of Uganda. A citizen in Rakai can easily follow what’s happening Kenya, and the rest of the world. Compared to the long gone analog television system, the present digitalization has a packed module of television channels. China through its digitalization project has presented a new ray of empowerment to many citizens of Uganda. For what’s worth, information and misinformation are more or less twins but with distinct characters. Being informed enhances proper decision making. Say on ongoing politics. Health maintenance through a health tip. Studying of unknown educative formulae through distance television learning. Keeping up to speed with entertainment blitz. The advantages can’t be exhausted. As society increases its media literacy, it lessens the likelihood of persons or groups that would tempt it by mediocrity or treachery. In the widely known skills pursuit it persists, like ever before, that knowledge – not simply information – is the foundation of power and full citizenship. China is not reinventing the wheel, but it is shaping the pathways to establish a fair ground for most people. The ability to be informed. To access knowledge.

It’s a mixture of circumstances especially in rural areas. Electricity access still retains its spot on the leading problems. So digitalization can’t be a realization on an individual basis. A television is imperative, and so do the bills. But in the grand scheme of things, China through the community digitalization model of rural areas, has levelled this ground. Installations of Startimes satellite Television in public arenas such as Health Centers and Community Resource Centers enables persons of all mould to have uninterrupted access. Overly idle children in many areas have now put to task in their pursuit for education through the proverbial distance learning on television. For a considerate number, a single television system would accommodate. Empowerment. China has enabled many of these unprivileged young citizens to fairly match the pomp of their privileged counterparts.

It is therefore fitting to say that China’s digitalization program of villages in Uganda has enhanced the general access of information in many of the areas currently identifiable as beneficiaries. On the education sector scoreboard, it has eased access to learning for the pupils and students in this COVID-19 era. The rural farmers in the benefitting villages can now ascertain future weather throw weather forecasts. Rural traders are able to know the shifting economic trends. Politics as an ancient tool of governance continues to be clearly understood by the masses. International environment conservation standards sensitized to the ordinary village settler in the current wake of climate change. The benefits keep coming. Thanks to China.

Alan Collins Mpewo is a Research Fellow, with Development Watch Center, a foreign policy think tank, a fourth-year law student at IUIU.

 

Why President Xi’s six-point Global Development Initiative to world leaders will bring global peace

By Allawi Ssemanda.

Noting that the world was faced with unprecedented historic challenges partly occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, in order the world to make a comeback, Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed to the Global leaders attending United Nations General Assembly’s 76th session what he described as Global Development Initiative listing six key areas.

Firstly, president Xi suggested that the world stay committed to development as a priority by ensuring unhindered global development partnership which are equal and balanced, policy coordination and forge greater synergy among multilateral development cooperation processes. It can be argued that this is a timely call for if done, it will help the world realise United Nations agenda 2030 of ensuring sustainable development for all.

Secondly, president Xi proposed the world stay committed and support a people-centered approach. He reasoned that such approach will help to safeguard and improve people’s livelihoods and protect and promote human rights. He explained that this can be achieved through development by ensuring that developments undertaken by governments are meant for the people and by the people, and that its fruits are shared among the people or citizens. This approach if embraced will help reduce income inequality levels and hence, create a society of shared prosperity and hence, the world including developed countries will have a population with “a greater sense of happiness, benefit and security, and achieve well-rounded development” for humanity.

Thirdly, President Xi proposed the world stay committed to benefits for all, stressing that it is humane and indeed in a spirit of togetherness and shared prosperity that world leaders ensure they care about the needs of developing countries. This can be achieved through interventions such as debt suspension and extension of development aid especially to countries facing development challenges. Such a call coming at a time when countries economic curves are slowing down due to what IMF called the world’s greatest lockdown, will help world’s developing economies to re-emerge.

The Chinese leader further proposed that world leaders remain committed to innovation-driven and development. This is a timely call because, if the world seizes opportunities created by latest technological advancement and industrial revolution, this in the long run will boost productivity and its associated spill overs. Already, in developing countries there are new innovations such as production of medical supplies that were a “reserve” of advanced countries before Covid-19 pandemic. Supporting such innovations will not only help in creating livelihood opportunities but also help to boost people’s incomes.

President Xi further proposed to world leaders to remain committed and ensure there is harmony between man and nature. He reasoned that this way, the world would ensure improved global environmental governance while actively responding the challenge of climate change. He announced to increase support Beijing has been giving to developing countries in developing green and low-cardon energy and that “China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.” Arguably, this proposal is not just about today but also generations to come. Today, the world is grappling with climate change related challenges and any positive idea meant to reverse these challenges must be embraced.

In August this year, a report compiled by 234 experts from 66 countries under the Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report showing how the world is under threat due to climate change; “The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years,” and warned that as a result of climate change, earth’s average surface temperatures are rising and are projected it to reach  1.5C (2.7F) which is about 1.6C (2.9F) much above pre-industrial levels of around 2030 in all five of the greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.This projection is almost 10 years earlier than what IPCC predicted less than three years ago.  Therefore, a proposal world leader to address challenges caused by climate change is a step forward and should be lauded.

The above assertions are based on the fact that climate change is occasioned by unfriendly human activities to environment does not only cause global warming but is also a threat likely to cause human extinction and suffering of mankind. In his book entitled Spike: The Virus Vs The People – The Inside Story Sir, Professor Jerremy Farrar a renowned scientist argues that unregulated human activities can also contribute to outbreak of pandemics like Covid-19. He contends that the most likely cause of future outbreaks is human activities, such as wildlife trade, deforestation, mining and other forms of land clearance explaining that as wildlife and vegetation are destroyed, several species of viruses and the bacteria they host are set loose to seek new hosts; and the only available options are domestic livestock and humans. With such knowledge at hand, it can be argued that president Xi’s proposed areas that require global leaders’ response are spot-on!

The proposal calling upon world leaders to stay committed to results-oriented actions by offering more support to developing countries in areas of poverty alleviation, food security, and industrialization will help developing countries to stand again from negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic and in the long run support economic development in developing countries. World Bank and International Monetary Fund experts have on several occasions highlighted the need for developed countries to support developing countries to emerge from economic meltdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, making a call in that direction and pledging “additional three billion U.S dollars of international assistance in the next three years to support developing countries in responding to COVID-19 and promoting economic and social recovery” by China is a welcome development.

President Xi’s speech further emphasized that China is interested in what can be described as an Era of rentless diplomacy, and that seeking multilateral global engagement is way to go. From the speech, it is clear that Beijing regarded diplomacy as regarded dialogue as the most useful form of diplomacy stressing that; “Chinese people have always celebrated and striven to pursue the vision of peace, amity and harmony. China has never and will never invade or bully others, or seek hegemony. China is always a builder of world peace, contributor to global development, defender of the international order and provider of public goods.” Such commitment at a time when the world is grappled with challenges of prolonged wars is a positive step that must be emulated and welcomed.

As Xi observed, “differences and problems among countries, hardly avoidable, need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect. One country’s success does not have to mean another country’s failure, and the world is big enough to accommodate common development and progress of all countries.” Arguably, this is the reason diplomacy and international relations exist and the very reason of current global order of mutual respect irrespective of the country’s size or strength which is a pillar of United Nations Charter.

 

 

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