US competes with China over Uganda’s $4 billion refinery deal

The president of Uganda Yoweri Museveni together with technocrats at the Energy Ministry in Uganda, are set to choose a $4 billion refinery deal’s investor for the country (Uganda).

Early May this year, Irene Muloni, the Energy Minister was reported saying that the country already had four consortia from which they would select the best contractor.

China’s Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group, Spain’s Profundo, IESCO of Turkey and Yatra Ventures from the United States, were the names of suitors mentioned by the minister at that time.

However, after more selections were made, the consortia have reduced to just between two countries now – Dongsong Energy Group and Yatra Ventures from America. It is so reported that, after further key negotiations, the winner from the two countries is expected to be known, towards the end of July.

The inside reports say that, the diplomats at the American Embassy are very excited about the deal as apparently, a former USAID employee, whose name not yet confirmed, is at the centre of it (the deal).

Following the competition amongst the two lobbyists, all sorts of claims are being thrown up. Proponents of the Yantra Ventures camp are believed to be fronting GE despite its clout, claiming their camp is in the lead to crash the deal.

General Electric (GE) is one of the biggest companies in the world, with assets worth over $300 billion.

The Yantra Ventures with all the faith, sight incompetence in their competitor (Dongsong).

Dongsong Energy Group on the other hand, is already developing the $620 million Usukuru phosphates project in Tororo, eastern Uganda. Though, the Group has mostly been struggling to raise the finances.

Interestingly, China in its consortia for the refinery, now has China’s giant SINOPEC. The chemical and petroleum conglomerate said to have up to $1.5 trillion worth in its assets. With this financial muscle, SINOPEC makes GE’s $300 billion worthless and insignificant, as some reports say.

Dongsong’s handlers too in this manner doubt if their competitor (Yantra Ventures) is a capable suitor.


Reporter: Shamilah Namuddu

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