Japan grants $99 million to Uganda for bridge loan

Japan has agreed to loan Uganda money to improve its Infastructure.

The Japanese government has granted Uganda a concessional loan of $99.3 million to build a new bridge across the River Nile on a route that links much of east Africa’s hinterland to the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa.

Construction of the bridge is expected to commence in 2012 and will take about six years to complete. It will replace an existing one built in 1954 that runs across Uganda’s largest hydropower facility, the Owens Falls Dam.

The existing bridge is past its lifespan and there are fears it could collapse at any time, potentially paralysing economic activity in much of Uganda, Rwanda, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan.

“This project is very timely because the existing bridge which is the main gateway for majority of Uganda’s imports and exports has suffered a high wear and tear over the last 58 years,” Finance Minister Syda Bbumba said at a ceremony to sign the loan agreement.

Japan is one of the main sources of credit for Uganda’s infrastructural development and has previously helped finance projects in energy, water and road sectors.

Currently, much of the merchandise trade in east Africa is conveyed in trucks though there are plans for a Kenya-Uganda railway to accelerate trade growth.

Japan is very involved in Infastructure projects around the world. With its economy stagnating, the current Japanese government has developed a policy that is oriented towards exporting technology and expertise on Infastructure projects around the world.

Here are some figures on Japan-Africa trade

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