Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

Huawei Seeds For The Future Students Learn Chinese To Boost Their Competitiveness

The ten Ugandan ICT students who are on a two-weeks technological study trip in China under the Huawei “Seeds for the Future” Programme 2018 have expressed happiness at the opportunity to learn the Chinese Language.

The students whose ICT related proposals were chosen as the best from the 35 presented by students from the Public Universities in Uganda, were recently flagged off by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni for a hands-on ICT training in China under Huawei’s Seeds for the Future program.

They include Abigaba Hilda from Lira University, Karasira Cosmas from Busitema University, Kasumba Robert, Mangeni Ajambo Cleopatra, Nanyonga Berinda and Obbo Peter   from Makerere University, plus Kirembwe Andrew, Mugisha Samuel, Nakate Annet and Oola Gerald from Muni University.

While in Beijing, Huawei has enabled the Ugandan students to be trained by the Beijing Language and Culture University’s School of Continuing Education for a week in speaking and writing the Chinese language. The students are also being exposed to the Chinese painting and Culture and a test will be administered after the one week and certificates credited to the successful ones.

Oola Gerard, studying Computer Science in Information Technology at Muni University and who is also the Huawei Seed for the Future Student’s leader in China, said it is a great opportunity for him and his colleagues to learn the Chinese language because being able to speak the language will give them a comparative advantage over their peers when competing for relevancy and employment in the global world.

“We need to learn Chinese because China is a big economy and in order for us to benefit from it we need the language which will be our bridge. I am going further to learn more Chinese when I go back to Uganda. We thank Huawei Uganda for this initiative”, he said.

Belinda Nanyonga a Student of Software Engineering from Makerere University urges her peers back home to learn other foreign languages in addition to their professional courses in order to compete favourably in the global world.

She says, “There are many businesses in Uganda owned by the Chinese but since most people cannot communicate in the Chinese language, they are failing to benefit from these business for example like getting employment.”

As for me I have learnt some elementary Chinese and I can now go and buy something in a super market here in Beijing because I even know how to count the money. When I return home, I will ensure that I continue teaching myself using the internet” she added.

The Chinese Lecturer Xíng Xiăoyan lauded the Ugandan students saying they are very interested and keen to learn Chinese. She said she hopes they will in future take more lesson in the language.

While in Beijing the students also visited the Great Wall in Beijing, an historical site traced back to 2,000 years ago and which attracts about 80,000 tourists; both Chinese and foreigners, every day. They were also taken on a guided tour of the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, found in Beijing, which was built on 72 hectares and is the biggest preserved palace in the world.

The Ugandan students will relocate to Shenzhen on Friday where they will have a week of a hands-on training in cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, LTE and cloud computing at the Huawei Technologies Headquarters.

Lina Cao the Public Relations Officer Huawei Technologies (Uganda) Co. Ltd, who accompanied the students to China, urged them to effectively utilize their time in China, take advantage of the ICT expertise and experience and ensure knowledge transfer to their Universities.

This is the third group of students to visit China under the Huawei's “Seeds for the Future” global Corporate Social Responsibility flagship program, which has so far benefitted 30 Ugandan Students since President Yoweri Museveni flagged it off in 2016.

Museveni Dangles African Natural Resources In Face Of Western Firms

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda said Western companies, unlike Chinese firms, have been ‘sleeping’ and ‘reluctant’ to take up projects and investing in the African continent adding that the West ‘don't care about what potential is in Africa.’

The President then challenged Western companies to take interest in helping Africa explore its resources potential, saying the continent presented immense business opportunities. "Africa is going to be a huge power house in terms of business," said the President.

"Africa and the West share a lot of history together and there is a need for them to use these past linkages to further economic business," said the President.

The President made the remarks at State House Entebbe as he witnessed the signing of the Project Framework Agreement between the government and the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC).

While congratulating the parties to the agreement, President Museveni said the composition of the AGRC showed that Western companies were also waking up to realise Africa's potential.

The agreement, according to a statement released by the State House media team, will ensure development, design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the oil refinery in Hoima District, Western Uganda, where the country has 6.5 billion barrels of un-extracted crude oil.

Africa is widely endowed with natural resources that have in the recent years attracted not only Western companies but also Chinese firms. Many African countries like Ghana, Uganda and Kenya are becoming major oil producers. The oil works are being conducted by mainly Western companies like Britain’s Tullow and France’s Total.

The minerals have been a major foreign exchange earner for many countries in Africa right from the time when the colonial master arrived on the continent. Hundreds of year later, companies from the West are arriving to explore and mine minerals. These activities are improving the economic fortunes of host African countries.

And now with the invitation of African presidents like Museveni, Western companies get more energized to venture into Africa and do business with the willing governments and citizens. This will see more foreign direct investment coming into the continent – creating more jobs, infrastructure and improved standards of living.

Uganda Signs Deal With Investors To Construct Refinery

The government of Uganda signed a long term Project Framework Agreement (PFA) with a foreign consortium, Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC), to expedite construction of the country’s 60,000 barrels per day refinery in the western district of Hoima.

The agreement will ensure development, design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the oil refinery in Hoima District. Uganda is estimated to have 6.5 billion barrels of oil deposits with an estimate of 1.4-1.7 billion barrels recoverable.

The government of Uganda intends to refine and sell some oil products like kerosene, petrol, diesel and heavy fuel oils locally hence the refinery and export the rest to international market through a crude export pipeline snaking to Tanga port in Tanzania

The signing of the PFA, government said, means pre-Final Investment Decision (FID) activities like Front End Engineering and Design (FEED), Project Capital and Investment Costs Estimation (PCE), Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) can commence.

“Under this agreement, AGRC will be responsible for funding the pre-FID activities listed above and will also proceed to construct and operate the refinery,” a statement released by state house where the agreement was signed under the watchful eye of President Yoweri Museveni said.

The consortium, made of companies incorporated in Mauritius – YAATRA Africa and Lionworks Group Limited – and Italy – Nuovo Pignone International SRL (a General Electric Company located in Italy) and SAIPEM SPA (Italy) – has also been tasked to ensure that Ugandans get jobs and skills out of the project.

“The entire project will be implemented by a Special Purpose Company, the Refinery Company, that will be incorporated by the private investors and the Uganda Refinery Holding Company, which is a subsidiary of the Uganda National Oil Company,” the statement added.

The Energy Minister, Eng. Irene Muloni, said the signing ceremony marked the end of the selection process that commenced in January 2017. She said her ministry had done extensive consultations before arriving at who to assign the project, estimated to cost between $3-4 billion.

In her remarks, Dr Josephine Wapakhabulo, the chief executive officer, of the Uganda National Oil Company, which will represent Uganda’s interests in the project, said the development of the refinery will trigger a number of other investments in the energy-based industries, contributing to economic development and attainment of middle income status.

She added that the refinery will grow UNOC's business portfolio and help unlock other planned investments at the Kabaale Industrial Park.

President Museveni has challenged Western companies to take interest in helping Africa explore its resources potential, saying the continent presented immense business opportunities.

While congratulating the parties to the agreement, President Museveni said the composition of the AGRC showed that Western companies were also waking up to realise Africa's potential.

"Africa and the West share a lot of history together and there is a need for them to use these past linkages to further economic business," said the President.

Opportunities As M2Cobalt Launches Exploration Activities In Kasese

Political and community leadership in Kasese and Bunyangabu districts, in western Uganda, are looking at economic opportunities being created after Canadian firm M2Cobalt started minerals exploration activities in the two districts.

M2Cobalt, on Thursday, 29th March, 2018, launched the helicopter airborne geophysical surveys at Kasese airstrip to commence the exploration activities expected to run until June. Exploration is eying discovery of copper, cobalt, nickel and association minerals.

The Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Bunyangabu district speaking during the launch of the surveys said both districts will be in a position to raise local revenue a position he shares with Bakar Sadiq, the Resident District Commissioner for Bunyangabu district.

Sadiq said exploration and eventual extraction of such minerals in the area will trigger economic development for the residents in the districts. “We need to explore these minerals to reach Vision 2040. We can get electricity, foreign investment and employment because of these minerals.”

In the same spirit and manner, Agnes Alaba, Commissioner Mines Department in the energy ministry emphasized that the mineral sector in Uganda can become the engine for development. She represented the ministry’s permanent secretary.

Zachary Baguma, a director at the energy ministry explained that the investors are not in the districts to survey people’s land. He then asked local leaders to convey the right message to the people so that they can support M2Cobalt in their pursuit of the minerals buried underground.

Andy Edelmeier, the CFO and director of M2Cobalt said a team of 20 Canadian and Ugandan geologists and support staff are camping in the two districts. They will be looking at rocks and soils to make new geologic maps. They will be taking samples for further analysis.

The directorate of geology survey and mines (DGSM) in ministry of energy and mineral development (MEMD) granted exploration licenses EL1673 and EL 1674 to the Canadian mining company through their Ugandan subsidiaries and partners.

Information acquired from the surveys boosts the ministry and investors understanding of what they will get and its composition, Fred Tugume, a director at DGSM, explained why it is important for such a survey to be undertaken. M2Cobalt is spending $5m to see this through.

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