Entebbe Airport, the only airport in the African country of Uganda, could be acquired by China due to the strange terms of the agreement as part of a loan taken in 2015. The incident is being hailed by observers as the latest example of a Chinese debt trap that is taking over the defense and diplomatic bases of countries with backward economies by giving huge loans for infrastructure.
On November 17, 2015, the Ugandan government borrowed $ 210 million from China’s Export-Import Bank for 20 years. The agreement was signed by Uganda’s Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Uganda’s goal was to develop Entebbe Airport to international standards.
But the 13 provisions included by China in the agreement give them crucial rights over the airport. The agreement validates the transfer of the airport to Chinese ownership in the event of any dispute over the loan, in accordance with the agreement, which excludes international immunity conditions. In addition, the purchase and sale of the loan amount is a matter for the Bank of China alone.
According to reports, China has repeatedly rejected Uganda’s demand that the agreement be amended to avoid these conditions. With this, the Ugandan government led by President Yoweri Museveni is in a big crisis. Observers say the incident could even lead to the defeat of Museveni, the giant of Ugandan politics, in the next election.
Last March, the Ugandan government sent a diplomatic mission to Beijing to persuade China to change its mind, but China refused to listen to their arguments. He also lamented that the hasty acceptance of the terms of the contract was a big mistake.
Established in 1972 on Lake Victoria, 43 km from the national capital Kampala, Entebbe International Airport is Uganda’s only international airport and serves about 20 million passengers a year. If the Chinese take control of it, it will be a move that will derail the Ugandan aviation sector. About three-quarters of the development work has been done at the airport since the loan was disbursed. Both runways are operational. The airport is expected to be fully developed by December next year. The Ugandan government hopes that the loan will be repaid in full if the airport is fully operational.
Debt trap diplomacy, or debt trap diplomacy, is the main weapon in China’s foreign policy. China’s 2006 infrastructure loan to the Pacific island nation of Tonga led to the country’s financial crisis from 2013 to 2014. About 44 percent of Tonga’s GDP had to be set aside for loan repayments. In 2018, then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sharply criticized China’s stance, exposing China’s use of bribes to lure many countries into debt. It is rumored to be used for political and defensive domination in the Pacific and African regions, which China is most interested in. China attaches great diplomatic importance to Uganda, a neighbor of the rich countries of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan and Tanzania.
English Summary: Uganda loses its only international airport to China for failing to repay loan: Reports