| KAMPALA, July 29
KAMPALA, July 29 Uganda has awarded a Chinese
firm a contract to build a new dam and power plant on the Nile,
a senior government official told Reuters on Monday, the second
such project to go to China in less than two months.
China, as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, has rapidly
expanded its investment in Uganda in recent years, snapping up
major government contracts often after extending cheap credit.
The latest 188-megawatt hydro-electric project, the Isimba
hydropower dam, would be developed by China International Water
and Electric Corporation (CWE) and China's Export-Import Bank
would give Uganda another loan worth $500 million, which would
be on concessional terms, Junior Energy Minister Simon D'Ujanga
"We're looking for cheap money to develop our infrastructure
projects and China has that money," he told Reuters, adding that
the memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed and work
on the dam was expected to start in August.
Last month, Uganda gave China's Sinohydro Group Ltd
a contract for the east African nation's biggest
power project yet, Karuma Hydropower, also on the Nile, at a
cost of $1.65 billion, partly financed by a $500 million Chinese
Early in July, a Chinese consortium won a contract to
restart production at Uganda's Kilembe copper mines at the
foothills of Rwenzori Mountains along the border with the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda is keen to expand its power generation capacity to
meet fast-growing energy needs, seeking double-digit economic
growth when crude production starts.
Production is scheduled to begin in 2016 after commercial
deposits were found in the west of the country. Crude reserves
are estimated at 3.5 billion barrels.