Beijing – China has got one more country by its collar as it takes over the Ugandan airport when the African country could not pay up its loan to the world’s largest economy.
This has obviously led Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to send a delegation to Beijing for a renegotiation with the Chinese government. Earlier the Museveni-led government had signed an agreement with China’s Exim Bank to borrow $207 million to expand Entebbe International Airport.
Now, they have found it tough to repay the loan, in time. It has been an old Beijing tactic to hand out financial aid to poorer or developing nations and then hold them ransom when they are not to repay it back in a stipulated time.
In its attempt to take over foreign assets, Beijing has reportedly confiscated other assets also in the Eastern African country. The loan apparently did have a 20-year maturity period of including a seven-year grace period. But it had now appeared that the transaction signed with China’s EXIM meant Uganda “surrender” its only international airport, according to a media agency report. Uganda, however, sought to renegotiate the deal but without success. The attempt to send a delegation in March this year to Beijing failed miserably.
Over the years, a number of African countries have had to forfeit their national assets to China. Beijing has had these under its direct control after failing to repay commercial loans signed with haste or without proper scrutiny.
“The revelation that Uganda government signed an agreement and, among others, waived immunity for its sovereign assets has raised questions about the level of scrutiny and due diligence that bureaucrats conduct before committing the country internationally,” according to a report in a popular African daily. It is worth noting that the Entebbe International Airport is the only international airport that Uganda has and that handles over 1.9 million passengers per year.