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India’s Modi arrives in Uganda in trip focusing on trade

July 24, 2018
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, centre left, is received by President Yoweri Museveni, centre right, after inspecting a parade at State House Entebbe, about 42 Km from the capital Kampala Monday July 24, 2018. Modi has embarked on a five-day three-nation tour of the African continent. (AP Photo / Stephen Wandera)

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a $205 million loan to Uganda during a visit to the country, the second stop in his tour of Africa ahead of this week’s summit of the BRICS emerging economies.

The money will be used to expand Uganda’s electricity grid and to promote agriculture and dairy farming, the governments said in a joint statement after signing bilateral agreements.

Uganda’s government depends heavily on outside money, especially loans from Chinese banks, to implement increasingly ambitious infrastructure projects.

Modi first stopped in Rwanda, where he signed bilateral agreements and visited a model farm to which he donated 200 cows.

In Uganda he met with the Indian community and will address the national assembly on Wednesday. He also will participate in a Uganda-India business summit. Modi then goes to South Africa for the BRICS summit.

Uganda has a substantial Indian community, including a group of industrialists who have flourished in the years since they returned to claim assets that had been seized during the reign of dictator Idi Amin.

In 1972 Amin ordered the expulsion of Asians, many of them Indian traders, from the East African country, saying he wanted to put the economy back in the hands of local people. Most of the seized property has since been handed back to the original owners under the government of current President Yoweri Museveni.

Businessmen of Indian origin have invested heavily in Uganda’s manufacturing, agricultural processing and pharmaceutical sectors.

Members of Uganda’s Indian community have said they want to be recognized by the country’s constitution as a tribe, something neighboring Kenya achieved last year.

India has been trying to build trade relationships in Africa. In 2015 Modi invited African leaders to New Delhi for an India-Africa summit that was the biggest of its kind.

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