China has denied reports that it could take control of Uganda’s international airport if the Kampala government fails to repay a $200 million loan from Beijing.
“The malicious accusation … is baseless and aims to undermine China’s relations with developing countries, including Uganda,” a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Kampala said late Sunday.
Last week, the Daily Monitor reported that Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport could be expanded and upgraded after reports that it could forgo the loan if it defaults on its 2015 loan from Beijing.
The report caused an uproar in Uganda, with a Photoshopped photo of the Chinese flag at the airport and another with a fake “Welcome to Entebbe International Airport in China” banner circulating widely on social media.
“China has not taken any projects in Africa for non-repayment of Chinese debt,” an embassy spokesman said.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority also denied the report, saying the government could not hand over national property in this way.
“We have said before that this will not and will not happen,” he said in a statement issued last week.
Work on the NDEP expansion began in March 2016 by the state-owned China Communications Construction. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Beijing has in the past been criticized for lending too much to poor countries without checking their ability to repay, and its huge debt to non-cash African nations has raised concerns about debt traps.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by the NDTV crew and published from the distribution channel.)
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