OLD footage of a news broadcast with the claim that a Ugandan international airport has been sold to China has resurfaced online, particularly on TikTok.
The resurfaced claim was contained in a 115-seconds news footage posted recently by a TikTok user: @beliverug on January 16, 2024.
The video contains a news broadcast by WION, an Indian-English language news channel and it had the inscription that read thus: “Uganda airport sold CC: WION. greed corruption.“
In the footage, a news anchor could be seen reading the news before the footage switched from him to a moving airplane in an airport.
The texts translation of the news footage read in part:
“…Meanwhile, Uganda has lost its only international airport that it had to China after it failed to repay it’s loan. Uganda is the latest African nation to fall into China’s debt trap and has had to give up one of it’s key national asset to China because it was not able to repay the installments of the loan.
“In 2015 China’s export import bank had lent Uganda a sum of 207 million dollars . The loan had maturity billing of about 20 years including a seven year grace period but African media outlets had reported that the loan had repayment conditions which allowed the Chinese lender to take possesion of the EntebBe International airport. The Only international airport in Uganda…”
The post has since gone viral with over 13,500 likes, more than 2,700 comments and over 4,000 shares as of January 27, 2024.
Ugandan international airport has been sold to China.
Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE!
For instance, a couple of Nigerian newspapers such as SaharaReporters, The Guardian and the Peoples Gazette had, in 2021, reported the Chinese government’s take over of the Ugandan airport. The Punch also published an opinion piece in December 2021 citing Uganda’s loss of the airport to China.
The reports, which were taken out of context, had generated misinformation about the airport after a Ugandan newspaper, Daily Monitor, published a report stating that the country could lose the Entebbe International Airport to China in an arbitration case with the China EXIM Bank, which is financing the $207 million expansion of the facility.
However, Reuters had, in 2021, reported that China had rejected the allegations of planning to take over the facility if the country defaults on its loan. The report stated that the loan agreement was not made public.
A Ugandan lawmaker, Joel Ssenyonyi, who chairs the committee that conducted the parliamentary probe, said then that it gives China Exim Bank approval powers over the airport’s annual budgets and that the loan terms allow China to “grab” the airport in case of default.
The claim that the Ugandan international airport has been sold to China is FALSE; the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), the country’s aviation regulatory agency, currently runs the Entebbe International Airport.