The Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi has hailed relations between China and Uganda and called upon Ugandan business persons, academicians and cultural entities to take advantage of.
Ssekandi said that China was among the first countries to recognize Uganda as a sovereign State just three days after attaining her independence from the British becoming Uganda's friend and ally.
Ssekandi who presided over the launch of the China-Africa Friendship Association at Hotel Africana in Kampala said friendship between the two countries has since grown into a successful and fruitful relationship in the 50 years of interaction as nations and peoples.
He said it had become a source of motivation and trust in strengthening relations between the two countries at the Government level and had contributed to stronger socio-economic ties between the two peoples.
Ssekandi said there are over 7,000 Chinese living and operating over 100 businesses in Kampala alone and a reasonable number of Ugandans living and trading in various cities of China. He called upon Ugandans to use the association to do business with the Chinese as partners.
The Vice President described the launch as a significant block which has been added to the 50-year old bilateral relations between Uganda and China
He said it is now the Government's wish to ensure that the coming years are characterized by increased balance of trade between China and Uganda as well as technological and scientific transfer from China to Uganda and cultural exchanges to contribute to Uganda's development.
He commended the efforts of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Chinese Africa People's Association and Wenzhou Enterprise Chamber of Commerce of Beijing for playing a key role towards the birth of CAFAU.
He challenged the China-Africa Association to attract investment by presenting Uganda's potential regarding available business opportunities describing the launch as another milestone in Uganda's 50 years and commended members of the association for their noble vision of cementing the social, cultural and economic ties between the two peoples.
The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhao Ya Li assured Ugandans of continued socio economic, cultural and bilateral relations between the two countries saying China holds Uganda in high esteem for her contribution to the peace and security on the continent.
The ceremony was also attended by the Minister for Tourism and wildlife Maria Mutagamba, State Ministers for Privatization Aston Kajara, office of Vice President Vincent Nyanzi and Uganda's Ambassador to China Charles Wagidoso Madibo, several Ugandan and Chinese traders.