Sunday, June 23, 2024

Don’t Demonize China: Blame your Government


Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba
Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba

By Peter Sinkamba President, The Green Party

In Proverbs 29:18, the Bible tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish.

Indeed, this biblical teaching correctly illustrates the on-going public demonization of China.

In my view, Government is fully responsible for the Zambia-China fallout for two reasons. First, Government has demonstrated lack of vision to harness the Zambia-China trade relations for mutual benefit. Secondly, Government has exhibited lack transparency on the Zambia-China trade thereby unjustifiably offending the public.

It is a pity that the nation has found itself in this mess. No doubt about it, Zambia needs China. The fallout is fatal economically and socially because at the moment, Zambia’s main trading partner is China, followed by South Africa, and Congo-Kinshasa.

Of course, the trade between Zambia and China is driven by copper. Reduced overseas sales of copper in the last few months have driven the monthly decline in merchandise exports, and has been exacerbated further by lower copper prices which have been hit by the intensifying U.S.–China trade dispute. And as a nation, we are slowly but surely feeling the pinch.

What is comforting is that China is seeking to further expand trade with Africa as a way to reduce risk from the U.S. trade dispute, a strategy which was made loud and clear at a two-day summit hosted by China a fortnight ago in Beijing.

No doubt about it, expanding imports from Africa could help China to spread the risk presented by the U.S.-China trade war.

For this reason, China looks to Africa as one of the biggest trading partners. This is evidenced by value of trade with the continent for the January-July period which grew 20% year-on-year, with imports jumping 30% to $56.8 billion and exports to Africa climbing 10% to $59.3 billion.

The growth in China’s exports to Africa has been driven by several factors, including the increasing difficulty of selling to the U.S., as well as expanded exports of solar power equipment to the continent. In addition, China shipped more automobiles and auto parts to African countries as well.

What is comforting further is that at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the two sides adopted a joint statement and a three-year action plan, laying out plans to deepen cooperation in various fields.

Priority areas of cooperation agreed upon at the summit include boosting trade, nurturing African industry, and strengthening security.

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of opposing protectionism and supporting free trade. President Xi also called on African leaders to work together for both sides to develop and prosper together.

Against this background, it is imperative that Zambia abandons the status quo of simply exporting unprocessed copper and importing large amounts of factory-made goods from China.

Instead, Zambia should develop a Zambia-China trade strategy which promotes local production of finished copper and cobalt products in Zambia for the African and global market, such as solar power equipment, batteries for electric cars, and other products, thereby creating local jobs and wealth for the nation.

Secondly, Zambia imports a lot of trucks from China. Through a trade strategy, Zambia could emulate what other African governments have done, such as the Algerian Government, which wooed Chinese truck maker Shaanxi Automobile Group in May this year and has started up an Algerian truck assembly plant through a local joint venture.

Zambia could also emulate the South African Government strategy where State-owned Beijing Automotive Industry Corp., or BAIC, was wooed in July this year to open a passenger vehicle assembly plant in South Africa.

It is folly to think that Zambia can completely cut off trade relations with China. It is no secret that Beijing continues to pour money into Africa, with foreign direct investment totalling about $40 billion cumulatively — close to America’s leading figure of $57 billion.

With the U.S. and Europe growing hesitant to make infrastructure loans to Africa, China’s more proactive lending has made it an even more valuable partner. The question is: on what terms?

At the summit, China tripled its offerings of grants and interest-free loans to Africa as Xi sought to dispel fears that borrowers would fall into so-called “debt traps” — as was the case with Sri Lanka, which was forced to hand Beijing control of a key port last year. Such assistance comprised $15 billion, or about a quarter of a $60 billion aid package Xi pledged to the continent, compared to $5 billion in another package of the same value China offered three years ago.

The offer of $60 billion aid package grants and interest-free loans could anchor Zambia’s strategy. Without a well-thought out strategy, Zambia stands to lose out on this package. This is my point of departure.

What I was expecting from Government leaders that went to attend the summit in China is a well-thought out explanation to the public on what transpired at the summit, and an elaboration on benefits that could accrue to the country.

Sadly, all I have seen is petty defence of Chinese loans without a clear-cut justification and strategy for the future trade relations. And herein lies our tragedy as a nation: where there is no vision, the people perish.

If only Government could develop a Zambia-China trade strategy to tap into the $60 billion package, as well as being transparent on the trade deals so far procured from China, this country is headed for even more economic and social decay.

Secondly, without winning back public confidence in Zambia-China trade relations, I foresee China looking more in the direction of South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe than Zambia. Believe you me, time will tell


  1. Ba sinkamba wesu mulichete, we all concerned about the bad stewardship by those given the button to run the affairs of this nation. Don’t worry about the Chinese or Europeans leaving they all need something from every part of Africa. How we do business with them is our only major concerned.

    • Peter Sinkamba’s approach is a very well place way of dealing with bilateral and multilateral issue in the current economic environment. Our government rather than put all the trust in the fact that these relations with our cooperating partners will work for the betterment of all parties involved, they should have a think-tank to examine these relations beyond today. If we do not do this the so-called partners will just use us and abandon us when we are not relevant in the future. It is on this premise that I agree with what Peter’s thoughts on this issue is. Our government should look at the long-term benefit of these relations rather than the short-term. MUKALILA!

      There is useful tompwe in this man’s cortex. Sinkamba is smarter than double h. His articles on this podium are more meaningful and wiser than the General and double h’s understanding of economics and national politics put together. Our Goverment needs economic technocrats to help the president make sound decisions on trade between Zambia and the might China. Unfortunately if our leaders will approach China with a begging attitude, it’s disadvantage Zambia.

  2. Sinkamba, you have leadership qualities.!And you are doing very positive opposition politics. Keep it up man. I just hope that other opposition leaders can emulate your approach of no insults but positive opposition politics of offering alternatives.

  3. Well said Mr Peter Sinkamba!!This is the wisdom Zambians can never get from HH.If this man was Kainde,2021 elections could be his.All Kainde and his tribal creatures camped in upnd have been doing is telling Zambians to rise against Chinese.Now look at those facts (billions of dollars) which China is pouring into africa.Can Zambia do minus China-never!!!For sure,because of the useless crusade from our jealousy opposition parties in Zambia,Chinese money could head to SA,Angola and other countries.This is Kainde’s prayer (not to see chinese dollars coming into Zambia) because if that happens,massive development would be the case and further push HH from plot one!!!SP,WE KNOW KAINDE’S EVIL TRICKS.GLADLY WE WONT ALLOW IT BECAUSE WE DONT OWE HH THE PRESIDENCY BUT OWE ZAMBIA DEVELOPMENT!!

  4. Zambia at the moment has no President ..we are losing our country with everyday, the whole cabinet was in China for 10 days and noone has told us what they signed in our names!!

    • Nothing wrong with China. China is doing a great job and so is Zambia! Anyone against what China is doing is CHILDISH, just like Under Five.

    • Zambia has an excellent leadership which we Zambians put in office. If you Ha blind, you cannot see it! But I am not surprised the TRIBAL union is blind and it can’t see we have President Lungu!

  5. Perceptions are illusions. Illusions then go on to influence behavior. This is exactly what is happening. It is wrong to start looting burning shops because of misunderstandings between a Chinese man and a Zambian woman. The right thing to do is to seek counselling when in doubt. When difference involve unlawful conduct, then the law must be allowed to take its course. Putting gender, race and nationality in focus leads to xenophobia. Theft is theft. Color is irrelevant.

  6. Mr Sinkamba what China trade vision? You’re giving GRZ too much credit…even bad students fail maths ,geography ,PE , history ,science,debate ,composition but then at least shine on languages or drama festival.

    GRZ’s failures – crashing debt,slow economy,aid suspension cholera deaths,corruption ,IMF downgrades,load shedding ,overpriced tenders, poor healthcare ,bad roads …not one shining example.A retard is a well rounded retard don’t expect them to focus on one China subject and the pass exam.

  7. @ Njimbu. You seem to focus more on HH when there is also sinkamba.
    Remember that there is no standard of performing politics. You dont have to be like Obama, Sinkamba or HH. Everyone is different. For example even you are unique. Actually if I’m to judge you from your writings, you must be a night school graduate with a certificate or Diploma.
    But i may be wrong, it could just be that you are very well educated than HH.
    In my view, this country needs educated leadership like Edgar Lungu, HH, Sinkamba, Chipimo put together with their legal and economic knowledge to propel this country.
    We are going through problems because ECL found a lot of cadres without education given critical positions. The example of critical positions is intercity. The people running that are cadres…

  8. Spot on, China is not the same China of yesteryears but a seriously business oriented one with deceptive tactics seeking world domination at all costs. The don’t care about Zambia as a nation but are willing to work with anyone with a price to achieve their objectives. Even the Western countries are crying foul and not even Russia trusts them. I pity the freedom fighters whose idea about China is based on the 1970 edition book version.

    • You should more focus on how to realize Zambian ambition in bilateral relationship, rather than how to stop China’s economic goals. Cooperation is imperative to both.

  9. Unless things have changed Angola is not really a friendly destination for the Chinese, especially the maize-roasting and chicken coop type. South Africa now has candidates on the ANC ticket running as candidates at local level… they will certainly be more at home there. Other than that, well said ya Sinkamba!

  10. Thank you Peter S.

    Last time you were blaming China without putting accountability on GRZ , we condemed you, you have heeded our calls to hold GRZ accountable instead of blaming others.

    We now await the legalization of weed for medical and personal use and to boosts exports.

  11. Nothing wrong with the Chinese! It’s how wise you need to be when dealing with them! We can use them to our advantage! Learn from their work ethic!

    • That is the problem facing PF, they are in power because of financing from China , they are ineffect captive to China and only people’s outrage will stop China doing as they pleas in Zambia…..just look at the projects GRZ embarks on wether China funded or tax payer funded , only 20 % goes to Zambian companies as said by lungu during the lunch of kafulafuta water , all tax payer funded yet only 20 % work to Zambians….

  12. Nice piece
    NOW let’s wait for NDC and UPND pass their understanding between China and African countries on trade partnerships.
    We shall there wisdom…

  13. Sometimes smoking Chamba can give you great wisdom as has been illustrated here. Lets legalize it then maybe we can get out of this quagmire.

  14. Are we to blame China or ourselves? Compare billions of dollars we have got from China to what has been put to good use. Can we point out the billions of dollar from China is equal to infrastructures in place. Has the Euro bonds been put to good use? Can we point out what has come out of the Eurobonds? We had motor assemblies in Livingstone, Ndola and Kasama, but all were “killed”. What’s wrong with ourselves? Is it greedy or lack of knowledge? I do not think it is a lack of Knowledge because we have educated Zambians both at home and around the globe. We have problems to solve together, some people say I am for President Lungu, some I am for HH, Sinkamba, Nawakwi, Nevers or Mutati. A divided home will achieve marginal results.

  15. Remember that it is not China which has given us these roads. We are paying for these roads ourselves.
    Most of our infrastructure has been recently improved through the Eurobond. This is a loan which is paid through the taxes we get deducted from our monthly salaries. China is not paying any of these loans. Why do you want to praise those we have just employed to do the construction instead of the employer.
    These are our own efforts as Zambians. We should be so proud.
    President ECL has done more infrastructure than any other president in a very short time because he is educated and wise. I strongly believe that HH, Chipimo and Sinkamba among many other great Zambians can also do the same.
    Zambia needs the educated to manage the new Airports control systems, to manage the new health…

  16. It’s easy to lose focus from sinkamba to HH because he can handle China very well to start respecting the beautiful Zambian flag and Zambians. Chinese have taken advantage of us so much on giving loans that only benefit them.

  17. Peter’s comments are noted. The biggest culprits are Political Leaders in developing Countries. They serve personal interests rather than National Interests thru Fraud and Corruption. However it takes two to tango. China’s Policy at home is “Zero Tolerance Towards Corruption” while abroad the Chinese govt promotes Corruption thru their Companies. In Sri Lanka the Chinese lent $8 billion to construct a Port. That Port has failed to service and Repay the Loans and the Chinese govt has taken over the ownership and management of the Port thru an Asset/Debt Swap. They are doing the same in Djibouti. In Zambia the IMF has refused to lend a Cash Bailout amounting $1.3 billion. The IMF’s reasons for refusing to lend is that Zambia has reached its external Borrowing limit and that there is…

  18. BALANCE OF TRADE is what counts. “Free trade” is a recipe for China to take over Zambia completely. Equality of import and export trade is the only way to maintain Zambia’s independence

  19. CURRENT ACCOUNT (net of Receipts and payments ) He is point on except to add ow that the Chinese have no firm friendship or relationship or policy towards African countries and therefore the African countries must Define their Interests The Chinese can easily bend an bet African countries commodities and non ferrous,excess capacity and lower wage productivity to support their Manufacturing ad service sectors towards the US Its becoming interesting to see So i as much we appreciate the better funding from china and support we need to have our own MOFA not foreign industries locally defined and insulated for value addition to reverse the deficits on the current…

  20. for long-term

    ? China’s Focus: Africa and Latin America
    ? China has increased its development investments in Africa by more than 520 percent over the last 15 years. To put the size of its investments in context, China’s Export-Import bank loaned nearly $67 billion to Africa throughout the 2000s, more than 500 percent of the World Bank’s combined $12.5 billion worth of loans. Between 2015 and 2016, Chinese-funded projects in Africa increased by more than 100 percent, while America’s foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa is falling.

    ? China also surpassed the United States as the largest trading partner to Africa in 2009 and has become the top exporter to 19 out of 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, China exported $82.5 billion worth of goods to the continent, while…

  21. the U.S companies exported only a quarter of that amount. According to McKinsey and Company, there are now over 10,000 Chinese firms in Africa, potentially generating $440 billion in revenues by 2025.

    ? Given our proximity, the United States has historically been the largest trading partner for many South American countries, but China has now surpassed the United States as the leading trading partner for several South American countries, including Brazil – the continent’s largest economy. China recently pledged $500 billion in trade with Latin American countries and $250 billion in Chinese direct investment over the next ten years.

  22. In short the Chinese have impacted and must be never be underestimated in the Zambian foreign policy Design

    Treat them with respect and go to the table sober and not in loud speakers in Chinese and have a policy towards them They need Us and We need them but our resources can still remain valuable whether inferred or non We have the power to set the bargain and mutually agree

  23. Know your wealthy and Chinese and take stock They have their interests and we have the country to Invest in and develop in a sustainable manner The wealthy in our resources must develop this country and that must be seen on the Current Account and National Accounts

    Lets develop the country with whoever is investing ethically but knowing those investments carefully will be important


  24. Zambia’s foreign policy bilateralism & multilateralism was forged in the liberation era. It hasn’t changed and will not for a long time coz the creature you are is what you are from historical & geopolitical circumstances. The people on the streets and in vast Zambia are absolutely in awe and grateful to what the Chinese have done for Zambia since TAZARA.

    Its disappointing Ganja man thinks anti-China opposition psychophants present compelling reasons of departure. Its just rants with no substance which will be marked down to D- by diminishing votes. Day in day out Ministers communicate & you and they choose not to hear till your demise.

  25. Marijuana ETFs have underperformed for some time but he has shown advanced fundamental analysis of the Zambian economy and must be commended he is beyond a noise trader
    Colonialism or the pseudo-colonial exploitation that has characterised the after independence or the trade route in the Tazara railways from the Chinese was about securing and extracting the natural resources from Zambia to Chinese manufacturing plants in China China has benefited far more than the benefits that have accrued to Zambia and Tanzania Securing access to natural resources is Chinese and Indeed others objectives and countries that will see these investments beyond simply extractive…

  26. industries and create manufacturing capacities in Zambians and new Economic Zones to work with Zambians in co-ventures here will reap rewards from long-term Manufacturing Chinese companies and establishment of industries , are welcome as such will translate in immediate benefits for our people in resource value additions and employment including industrial capacity building around the nonferrous metal
    Simply pick a pen Identify the Zambia sectors and these FDIs per country Investing. Look at the Investing Companies and how much ,the people Investing, technologies and value of those products See the Current Account and relate the balance of trade in a two way…

  27. Meanwhile to counter the Glowing Influence of the Chinese in Zambia and Africa,the U.S. is finalizing plans to double funding for big infrastructure projects to Zambia and Africa and the worlds to counter China’s growing influence.The US are seeking for Funding initiatives that would boost the U.S.’s role in international development combining several little-known “OPIC” government agencies into a new body, with authority to do $60 billion in development financing from the Current funding

    IMF and world bank are coming back also to africa where opportunities abound

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