Chinese businesses contribute $3bn to Zambian economy
Over 550 Chinese businesses are operating in Zambia, bringing more than US$3 billion into the economy, reported new Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming earlier this month. He was speaking at a reception commemorating the 65th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, established in 1949 by Mao Zedong.
Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo also took to the podium, saying his country is deeply appreciative of China’s unceasing support of and investment into the different sectors of the Zambian economy.
Chinese companies are engaged in various sectors in Zambia, said Youming, primary among which are agriculture, trade, manufacturing, mining and tourism. “[Chinese firms] have constructed a large number of the much-needed infrastructure and civil projects with quality and efficiency across Zambia and have created over 50,000 jobs for the local people,” he said.
Youming also reported that bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached US$3.81 billion last year, with US$2.35 billion in surplus for Zambia.
Chinese companies engaging in CSI
Youming spoke positively not only about the economic contribution of his compatriots, but also their commitment to corporate social investment. He said Chinese businesses “have donated vehicles, computers, electrical appliances and infra-red fever sensing systems, sponsored Zambian students to China and engaged in many other charity activities.”
In response, Kampyongo said that “China has been Zambia’s all-weather friend and we appreciate this stance. China has and continues to provide specialised medical personnel to Zambia, it has continued to offer scholarships to our people and it’s actively engaged in trade and infrastructure development.”
Youming encouraged all Chinese businesspersons to continue playing a positive role in local society. “You should abide by the Zambian laws and regulations,” he said, “get along harmoniously with each other and the local society. Back feed the local community so as to make your due contribution to the building of this mansion of China-Zambia friendship clear.”
Youming praises Zambian efforts
The ambassador was very complimentary of the Zambian Government, economy and people. “As the oasis of peace and tranquillity in Southern Africa, Zambia has made great achievements in political, social, economic and other fields over the past five decades, and plays an increasingly active role in regional and international arenas.”
“We are pleased to know that Zambia has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and it is expected to maintain the economic growth rate of over 6.5 per cent this year. As a friend, we are genuinely happy and proud for Zambia and its people for the impressive accomplishments.”
Zambia-China friendship strong as ever
Kampyongo replied in kind. He said Zambia will be forever indebted to China for its investments into the local economy and society, in particular its establishment of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA). “China is also developing economic multi-facility zones in Lusaka West, it has built modern stadia for Zambia and all these projects are key to our country’s developmental agenda. We therefore say thank you to China.”
Kampyongo added, “Therefore the Government, under the leadership of President Michael Sata, would seek nothing less than working towards deepening its friendly bond with China.”