By our Correspondent
Remarkably, December, 20, 2022 is the day Chinese enterprises gave an account of what they have done to better the general society of Uganda.
This is in the sense that the Issuance of the Social Responsibility Report of Chinese enterprises in Uganda gives a chance for Ugandans to judge the impact of these companies on their lives across the entire pearl of Africa.
Being critically assessed, the report issued on December 20, 2022 at the Kampala Serena Hotel did not disappoint; Chinese enterprises have a high score on the Social Responsibility test in Uganda.
This, in his speech, the Ambassador of China to Uganda, H.E Zhang Lizhong noted the importance of president Xi Jinping’s ‘Nine Programs’ for future China-Africa Cooperation with an emphasis on the ‘A Hundred Enterprises in a Thousand Villages’ initiative aimed at reducing poverty and benefiting the common people.
In this wise The Ambassador, noted “while carrying out practical cooperation projects in Uganda, that Chinese enterprises have always attached great importance to social responsibility work. They have carried out a series of small but beautiful social responsibility projects that benefit local people in the areas of medical and healthcare, job creation, education empowerment and environmental protection.” Hence, it goes without saying that the Ambassador was spot on in his assessment.
And indeed, the guest of honor at the event, Her Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, Jessica Rose Alupo Epel commended Chinese enterprises for their assistance to Uganda in various sectors and especially with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Epel reiterated the importance of maintaining strong ties between the two friendly countries.
And further, franked by General Edward Kutumba Wamala the minister of Works and Transport, the Vice President also praised the progress made towards achieving direct flights from Entebbe to mainland China. On a critical but hopeful note, she requested China to work with Uganda to reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries and thanked the Chinese government for responding positively to reducing tariff barriers to a number of Ugandan exports.
Therefore, the Social Responsibility Report comes as a bonus ingredient in the 60 years of China-Uganda mutual cooperation. It is a testament to how Chinese enterprises have impacted Ugandan society economically, environmentally, ethically and through philanthropic endeavors. Social Responsibility measures do not profit the enterprises themselves but can change the lives of locals immensely.
in the meantime, SINOCHAM has undertaken massive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) measures within the struggling health sector of Uganda by rendering medical services in areas they operate in. This was especially highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic as all SINOCHAM member companies joined hands to provide relief in form of cash, face masks, sanitizers and many other anti-covid 19 materials. The companies supplemented the support provided by the government of China to the government of Uganda. Districts like Arua and Bukedea got PPEs and food relief items respectively. Furthermore, medical teams from Yunnan have come to Uganda and brought with them Chinese advanced medical technology and continuously assist their Ugandan colleagues in improving their medical skills. Since 1983, China has sent 209 medical experts in 22 batches to Uganda and provided free treatment to millions of Ugandans.
Without a doubt, this is practical proof of what the Ambassador, H.E Zhang Lizhong referred to in his speech that together Uganda and China have “written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance.”
Already, many Ugandans recognize that unemployment is a key issue in the country especially among the youths. Too many young people are educated and have no work. Chinese companies are looking to play a big role in the employment arena by providing Ugandans with numerous job opportunities in a variety of sectors. H.E the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda noted in his speech at the ceremony that “CNOOC Uganda alone will help to create more than 20,000 jobs, another 35,000 job opportunities are on the way in Liao Shen Industrial Park and China-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park…”
Categorically, for 36 years, the government of China has embarked on a journey to support Ugandan education through scholarships. Currently, over 1,000 Ugandans have been beneficiaries of these scholarships in areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Chinese enterprises have played a major role in issuing scholarships to many Ugandans whose lives have been dramatically changed for the best.
Again, the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), CNOOC Uganda Limited and Huawei Technologies have all impacted the Ugandan education sector by giving scholarships to many talented Ugandans. For example, through the International Scholarship Scheme, CNOOC facilitated students to undertake undergraduate and master’s studies in geosciences in Chinese universities. Eight Ugandans have so far benefited from this scheme.
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Considerably, Huawei on the other hand, through its Seeds for the Future Program and the Future Internship Programme has helped Ugandans to acquire hands-on training in areas of application and software, transmission, datacom, core network, wireless, radio frequency and device business. Chinese companies such as the CWE, CCCC, China Railway 18th Group and Synohydro have also helped to construct and renovate schools in Kamuli district, Busia and in Karuma. Chinese companies have also played a pivotal role in supporting Ugandan sports, providing safe drinking water, building boreholes, food relief and housing projects, protecting the environment by relying on innovative technology to protect mother nature.
Further, when it comes to the Corporate Social Responsibility scale, Chinese enterprises weigh quite well according to facts on ground. There is still more room for improvement as Uganda faces new challenges every day. CSR is a good indicator of how far China-Uganda relations have come and how far they still can go. The Chinese enterprises in Uganda Social responsibility report is proof of the win-win China-Uganda partnership.