Chinese lenders, the Export-Import Bank of China, also known as Exim Bank, has ‘taken over’ the Ugandan Entebbe International Airport and other assets in the country over the failure of the Ugandan government to repay a loan.
This came despite reports that President Yoweri Museveni had sent a delegation to Beijing for a renegotiation with the Chinese government over toxic clauses that exposed the East African country.
The Museveni-led Ugandan government had on Tuesday, 17 November 2015, signed an agreement with Exim Bank to borrow $207 million at two per cent upon disbursement.
The loan had a maturity period of 20 years including a seven-year grace period, but it had now appeared that the transaction signed with the Chinese lenders practically means Uganda “surrendered” its most prominent and only international airport.
Entebbe International Airport is Uganda’s only international airport and handles over 1.9 million passengers per year. Its seizure by China would greatly dent the legacy of the 77-year-old Museveni, who came to power on the back of an armed uprising in 1986, and expose him to election defeat.