The Chinese government donation was announced on Sunday by Chinese Special representative Yang Jiechi during a meeting with President Museveni at State House, Entebbe. Ugandan scientists had already advised the government to consider Sinovac and Britain’s AstraZeneca.
Uganda expects the vaccines to push for deployment of a vaccine to some 90 low and middle-income countries. The vaccines were negotiated through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), a global initiative that brings together governments, manufacturers, and global health organisations.
Mr Jiechi, a member of the China Communist Party political bureau and director of the office of the Central Committee for Foreign Affairs, jetted into the country on Saturday night for a one-day visit as part of the five-nation tour.
He held meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials led by Mr Sam Kutesa in Kampala, and later with President Museveni.
Besides the Covid-19 vaccine donation, diplomatic sources told Daily Monitor that Mr Jiechi and the Ugandan team also discussed the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). He reportedly told the Ugandan team to continue engagements with Kenyan government to agree on reaching the Malaba border.
The first section of Uganda’s SGR is expected to run 273km from Malaba to Kampala at $2.1b (about Shs8 trillion).
The engineering, procurement and construction contract was signed with China Harbour Engineering Company.
Uganda’s hopes for the new railway line are, however, premised on Kenya completing its remaining sections—266km line from Naivasha to Kisumu port at $3.6b (Shs13 trillion), and later the 107km line connecting to Malaba expected to cost $1.7b (Shs6 trillion).
Mr Jiechi and President Museveni, according to diplomatic sources, also discussed reforms of the United Nations Security Council.
The main purpose of this visit will be to further bolster the bilateral relations between the two countries which has been elevated to the status of Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.