Zambia has acquired four concessional loans and a grant worth K326.9 billion from the Chinese government.
The concessional loans include K139 billion for the completion of conference facilities at the Government complex in Lusaka and K109 billion for an ultra modern stadium in Ndola.
President Rupiah Banda, cabinet ministers and other senior government officials witnessed the signing of the loan agreements at State House in Lusaka, Thursday.
Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane who signed on behalf of the government, explained that the loans are meant to improve the welfare of Zambians.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at State House, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said his country is determined to further strengthen its relations with Zambia.
Mr. Deming said there is need for China and Zambia to strengthen their unity in the wake of the global financial meltdown which has not spared the two countries.
He said that his country is confident that Zambia like China will overcome the negative impact of the global financial crisis under President Rupiah Banda’s leadership.
Mr. Deming said his team is also in the country to further establish other areas of cooperation and help finance some projects in the country.
He expressed delight that ten companies have so far established economic zones in the country with an investment of over 700 million dollars creating thousands of jobs in the country.
Mr. Deming disclosed that China’s trade with Zambia recorded a total of more than 810 million dollars with Zambia recording over 540 million dollars in exports to that country.
And speaking after the signing ceremony Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane explained that the concession loans and grant agreements will go towards construction of infrastructure and technical support.
He said 63 billion kwacha of the funds will go towards the construction of new grain storage facilities to increase food security in the country while approximately 110 billion kwacha interest free loan will go towards the construction of an ultra modern stadium in Ndola.
Mr. Musokotwane said the third concession loan of approximately 140 billion will go towards the completion of an international conference center at Government complex building with a capacity of hosting two thousand delegates.
He said 20 million US dollars grant will be used for other projects to be agreed upon with by the two governments while 1. 6 million Chinese Yuan will go towards providing agriculture technical support.
Mr. Musokotwane disclosed that China will dispatch a team of experts in agriculture to offer technical expertise in irrigation and other agricultural services.
And the Finance Minister noted that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will secure more grain for the country’s food security once the new grain facilities are constructed.
Mr. Musokotwane said the sports infrastructure will significantly contribute to sports infrastructure with a bigger capacity to hosting more games.
He urged investors to construct hotels to complement the infrastructure that will be constructed with the funds that have been provided.
Mr. Musokotwane noted that the country will increase its capacity in hosting international games and conferences with the construction of the stadium and conference center.
Meanwhile, President Rupiah Banda has commended the Chinese government for the gesture.
Mr. Banda said he was happy that the Chinese government has helped finance various developmental projects in the country.
He said China and Zambia has continued to share and strengthen long standing relations that have resulted in various developmental projects including the Tanzania-Zambia Rail line.
Under the financing agreements, the Food Reserve Agency has also been given K63 billion for up-grading and construction of grain storage sheds.