Sata calls for continuous cooperation with China
In his sudden u-turn over Chinese investment, President Sata has called for continued closer ties with China.
Sata who met with Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun in Lusaka yesterday called for continuous cooperation and exchange with China.
He recalled the long history of friendship between Zambia and China, saying at the beginning of Zambia’s independence, China helped Zambia build a railway linking Tanzania and Zambia, which is regarded as a road of freedom. Through the railway, the Zambian people started to learn about and understand China.
In recent years, funds and aid from China play an important role in local economic and social development.
Zambia is willing to be a continuous development partner and further strengthen cooperation in the sectors of agriculture, education and infrastructure construction, the president said.
Zhai said since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Zambia, the two sides have always enjoyed mutual understanding, with both countries supporting each other in core issues and helping each other in national development.
Both sides have witnessed fruitful achievements in fields of economy, trade, agriculture, mining and infrastructure construction.
The deputy foreign minister called for joint efforts of the two sides to further develop understanding and exchange among people, so as to deepen all-weather friendship between China and Zambia.
Meanwhile China has given Zambia K75.3 billion for poverty reduction programmes out of which K43.3 billion is a grant while K32 billion is an interest-free loan.
Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda said the money will be used on programmes that are of a priority in nature within the context of the Sixth National Development Plan.
He was speaking yesterday in Lusaka at the signing of economic and technical co-operation agreements.
“The grant and loan facilities will, therefore, be put to good use to ensure maximum benefits are derived in the fight against poverty. Zambia greatly admires the strides made by China in uplifting the standard of living of its people…” Mr Chikwanda said.
He said Zambia and China share identical views and positions on many international and regional issues of common interest, adding that Zambia is glad to see China’s success in coping with the recent global financial crises.
Mr Chikwanda said Zambians are grateful for the assistance China has continued to render to Zambia in many areas of development.
He cited construction of the TAZARA railway line, the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium and the Lusaka General Hospital as some of the examples of China’s commitment to continuing cementing friendship with Zambia.
Mr Chikwanda said Zambia has positioned itself to ensure it maximises benefits arising from the 2009 Africa-China Declaration, where the Chinese government made available US$10 billion to finance a series of projects in Africa from 2010 to 2012.
He said Zambia is also gratified by the China-Africa Development Fund to establish a regional office in Zambia with an investment outlay of US$1 billion.
“In this regard, the Government of the Republic of Zambia reiterates its desire to access Chinese financial assistance and technical expertise to extend the TAZARA railway line to Angola,” Mr Chikwanda said.
And visiting Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said despite the long distance between the two countries, Chinese people have always regarded Zambians as their brothers and sisters.
“In the long course of our friendship, our two peoples and our two countries have always been supporting each other and helping each other. I am confident that the Chinese people will continue to stand together with the Zambian people in economic and social development,” Mr Zhai said.
He said China is ready to continue supporting and co-operating with the Patriotic Front government to bring about prosperity and create a better future for the two countries.