China has been making investments in a variety of African countries and Uganda has not been left out in the African partnerships that China seems to favor for market reasons.
The past decade has seen entrepreneurs, investors and contractors pour into Uganda from China, with China accounting for nearly half of total foreign investment in the country between 2014 and 2015, according to the Uganda Investment Authority.
Of course, the many advantages involved both for Uganda and China from these investments can be surmised; some of the major infrastructure projects going on in Uganda like Uganda’s Mandela National Stadium, a $1.7 billion hydropower dam in western Uganda, and the highway connecting Entebbe to Kampala have all been built by Chinese companies.
On the side of the Chinese, they enjoy Uganda’s stability and demand for their goods so even independent traders and other Chinese men find their way to the African country to sell imported Chinese goods.
A major downside of the relationship has, however, emerged or at least a downside that is worrying Ugandan immigration officials. According to these Ugandan immigration officials, an increasing number of Chinese men are marrying Ugandan women in order to solidify their business interests by becoming residents of the country.
The Ugandan immigration officials spoke to a parliamentary committee in late November on the issue. The told them that they were seeing an increasing number of Chinese-Ugandan couples whose unions are often based on false pretenses. These couples are normally interviewed prior to being granted spousal status and those who fail the test are deported.
An official from Uganda’s directorate of citizenship and immigration control told the parliamentary committee;
“But we have many who are marrying and even producing… Even our Ugandan women are accepting to [reproduce] with these men.”
Tensions are high as the problem seems to persist. Ugandan authorities have started conducting more raids to catch Chinese men living in the country illegally.