Zambia, China sign grant agreements worth over US $60 million
Zambia and China have signed two economic and technical cooperation grant agreement each worth 200 million Chinese Yaun or about US$64 million.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda signed on behalf of the Zambian government while China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Li Jinzao signed on behalf of his government.
The two ministers also signed the framework loan for the concession loan for the upgrading of the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
They also exchanged notes on the adjustment to the Mpika urban road project, borehole drilling project, vocational training supplies, wildlife protection supplies and the mass calisthenic technical cooperation project.
The signing of the eight loan and grant cooperation agreements were held at government house in Lusaka last night.
Vice President Guy Scott and his visiting Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao witnessed the signing of the loan and grant agreements.
Dr. Scott and his team also held closed door talks with Dr. Li and his delegation that lasted for close to an hour.
And the Vice President has lauded Zambia’s relations with China saying China has been an all-weather friend for Zambia for many years now.
He said China constructed the TAZARA railway at the time when Zambia badly needed a route to export and import goods even though at the time China itself was facing some economic difficulties.
The Vice President said the construction of the TAZARA railway line helped to liberate Zambia from the sanctions it was facing at the time from the South.
He said before the building of TAZARA, Zambia was deprived of many essential goods such as fertilizer and food stuff, saying Zambia will therefore forever remember China’s goodwill.
Meanwhile, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao said his visit to Zambia was aimed at lifting bilateral relations and cooperation to a higher level between the two countries.
He said his visit to Zambia was not only to promote economic cooperation but to also enhance the cooperation between Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front and Communist Party of China.
Dr. Yuanchao said while the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations for the past 50 years, he hoped his visit will further cement and push the two countries’ relation to a higher level.
He noted that Zambia and China’s relations were of profound friendship that was created by the older generation of the leaders of the two countries such as China’s late leader Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai and Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda.
The Chinese Vice President said bilateral ties between Zambia and China have withstood profound changes in the international landscape in the past five decades.
He said Zambia China relations have brought concrete benefits to both sides.
Vice President Li said in 2013, the Chinese trade volume hit US3.8 million and Chinese investment in Zambia totalled US$2.6 billion creating about 50, 000 jobs.
The Chinese Vice President is in the country at the invitation of Dr Scott. He is also scheduled t hold talks with President Michael Sata, First Republican President Dr. Kaunda and PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba.