Uganda hails China's skilling of gov't officials
by Ronald Ssekandi, Yuan Qing
KAMPALA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- China's training programs of skilling African government officials are critical in improving service delivery that will fast track development on the continent, a senior government official has said.
Geoffrey Turyamhika, assistant Commissioner at Uganda's ministry of finance, told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday that over time there has been an improvement in service delivery by officials who have attended short courses in China.
He said the exposure they get from China, which fast tracked its development over the last 30 years, is important when applied in the local context.
"Once you have exposed someone to new technologies, skills of doing business, then you expect to see better results. We have seen more commitment from our officers, they are more committed and inclined to work with a result-oriented attitude," Turyamhika said.
He was speaking shortly after a welcome reception of government officials who had returned from China from short trainings in various sectors.
He said Uganda and China this year piloted the first overseas training program where China sent experts to Uganda instead of sending trainees to China.
He said this saves money and many people can benefit from the training.
"Instead of having two participants going to China, we would rather get two technical officers from China to train 30 people here. We are hoping that for the future we would adopt that same methodology to hold more training in Uganda," he said.
Proscovia Nagayi, one of the beneficiaries, said the training course show how China is interested in having Africa develop. Another beneficiary Innocent Mugisha, who trained in Shanghai noted that in order to fast track development, a country must have enough electricity and must be able to produce for its citizens.
Every year Uganda sends over 300 government officials to attend short training courses in China ranging from finance, agriculture, education, health among others.
Zhao Xiufen, Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy who hosted the event, said the trainings signify a deepening bond between the two countries, noting that since the 1950s, nearly 3,000 Ugandans have trained in China through different kinds of seminars.
"I hope that all the participants shall play a more important role in the future and make more contributions to the economic cooperation between China and Uganda," she said.
She said the trade volume between China and Uganda has kept increasing and reached 641 million U.S. dollars last year. China is now Uganda's third major trading partner and the second major source of imports.
"Until now, Chinese companies have totally invested about 4 billion dollars in Uganda. In terms of foreign direct investment, China now ranks number one in Uganda," she added.
China is currently undertaking major transport and energy infrastructure projects in the country.
The training programs are part of the 10 major plans announced by Chinese President Xi Jinpinglast year to boost cooperation between China and Africa over the next three years.
Xi, in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), said China will establish a number of regional vocational education centers and several capacity-building colleges for Africa, train 200,000 technicians for African countries, and provide the continent with 40,000 training opportunities in China.
China will also offer African students 2,000 education opportunities with degrees or diplomas and 30,000 government scholarships. The country will also every year invite 200 African scholars to visit, 500 African youths to study and train 1,000 media professionals from Africa.[ Editor: 刘家铭 ]