CHINA, ZAMBIA WITNESS BOOMING ECONOMIC COOPERATION

By Shi Shouhe

    LUSAKA, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — Yan Dongyan, the middle-aged Chinese boss of a Zambian travel agency, could not help grinning as he received a report on the agency’s revenue in 2006.

    Located in Zambia’s most bustling business street in the capital, Dianelink deals with booking and sale of air tickets.

    As more Chinese came to Dianelink to buy flight tickets from here to China or vice versa, the company’s revenue doubled in 2006over the previous year.

    The travel agency, a parameter in measuring the personnel exchanges between China and Zambia, is the very best mirror that reflects the fast-growing economic cooperation between the two countries.     

  MORE INVESTMENT FROM CHINA

    Since the two countries established diplomatic ties 43 years ago, about 200 Chinese companies have set up business in Zambia, ranging from mining, textile, construction, banking, agriculture to clinic and restaurant, according to statistics from Zambia Investment Center.

    Some of these companies, such as the NFC Africa Mining Company and Zambia China Mulungushi Textile Company, are large-sized and playing an important role in the country’s economy, while a large number of others with a smaller scale are also contributing to Zambia’s development.

    In recent years, Zambia’s investment from China has witnessed a significant growth. China is now Zambia’s third largest investor, after South Africa and Britain, with a total investment of over 500 million U.S. dollars by the end of 2006.

    During the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which was held in November 2006, the Chinese and Zambian governments signed an agreement on building a copper smelter worth some 200 million dollars, which will be constructed by China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group.

    China’s investment in Zambia’s mining industry is of great importance to Zambia, said Kalomo Mwansa, Zambia’s Minister of Mines and Mineral Development.

    “The investment from China will bring in new technology to the sector and create more jobs for our people,” the minister told Xinhua in a recent interview.     

    TRADE BOOM

    China and Zambia have also experienced a rapid trade boom in recent years.

    Bilateral trade in the early 1990s had been only 20 million dollars, but in 2005 it reached 300 million dollars, partly thanks to China’s tax exemption on Zambia’s commodities.

    And the latest statistics indicated that bilateral trade in the first 10 months of 2006 hit 290 million dollars, an increase of 20percent compared with the same period of 2005.

    Chinese President Hu Jintao is currently on an eight-nation Africa tour, of which Zambia would be the fourth leg.

    The top-level visit, Mwansa said, would bring more Chinese investment to Zambia, boost bilateral trade, and strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries.

    “I believe that there will be more Chinese investment coming after this visit,” the minister said.

    “It’s a very significant visit to Zambia that will enhance our cooperation, bring our relations to a higher level and strengthen the already existing friendship between our two countries,” he added.

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