Uganda’s government has confirmed plans to partner with China through a joint venture initiative regarding the large-scale production of salt and other related products in the East African country.
Mike Mukula, National Vice Chairman for Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM Eastern) party, confirmed the plans this week, reaffirming China’s growing list of investments in the region.
Salt mining is one of Uganda’s oldest industries. The sector has played a significant political and economic role in the history of the Katwe area in Eastern Uganda.
However, following the collapse of a major salt factory built in the late 1970’s, Uganda spends billions of dollars importing salt from other countries.
Mining is done by extracting salt from Lake Katwe by hand. Lake Katwe is a crater lake situated inside Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth national park.
The mining process has been described as somewhat archaic since it involves standing waist deep in water for hours at a time.
Due to the exercises’ ineffectiveness, Uganda’s government is banking on China’s expertise to streamline the process.
China has been dealing in salt for centuries. The mineral was once China’s key income source, though the salt trade today accounts for only 0.04% of the Chinese government’s income.
China is the largest producer of salt with 48 million tons, followed closely by the United States, which accounts for 46 million tons. Globally, countries collectively produce an estimated 200 tons every year.