The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations (UN) has scuttled the propaganda that China is moving on to colonise Zambia through its loans and financial development assistance to the country.
Ms Christine Kalamwina, Zambia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) has said Zambia and China have had long bilateral relations anchored on common understanding and mutual respect since 1964 when Zambia gained her independence from British colonial rule.
Answering questions from students from Columbia University’s International Relations Council and Association, Ms Kalamwina said Zambia is aware that there is a campaign against Chinese investment and loans in Zambia from which the country has over time benefited exponentially in the development of its economic infrastructure.
The Colombia University students visited the Zambia Mission to the UN under the Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition (CMUNCE) Diplomatic Visit Program last week.
The students, in some of their questions wondered whether it was true that China was about to colonise Zambia after the country had gained her independence from British colonial rule in 1964.
The students claimed that as a result of the loans Zambia has acquired from the China and investment in the country, China has started taking over some of the country’s strategic economic infrastructure.
But Ms Kalamwina told the students that it was not true that China has taken over Zambia’s sensitive and strategic economic infrastructure and that the information the students had was nothing but negative propaganda against China for making Africa its investment destination of choice.
She explained that China is not the only country that has invested in Zambia as the policy of the Government is to attract investment from any part of the world including Japan and the United States of America.
Ms Kalamwina said Zambia has one of the longest relationship with China among African countries dating back to five months after independence in 1964 when the Chinese Government offered to help with the construction of the 1,860 km Zambia-Tanzania Railway which was built between 1970 and 1975.
“There has been a lot of negative talk about Chinese loans and investment in Zambia. Now we have the propaganda that China is slowly taking over Zambia’s assets in the attempt to colonise the country. Zambia is a sovereign State and the United Nations declared that Zambia should be a self- governing territory in 1964. There is no way China is going to colonise Zambia. Zambia and China have had long bilateral relationship and Zambia has benefited a lot from Chinese investment. The Government of Zambia allows and attracts investment from any part of the world including Japan, the USA, Canada and many other countries,” Ms Kalmwina said.
And Ms Kalamwina said many countries are competing to invest in Zambia because the country has been politically stable since independence and that the government has created an attractive investment environment.
She said Zambia has remained one of the most politically stable in Africa and that the country is actively involved in the promotion of peace in many parts of the world.
She also shared with the students the contributions Zambia is making in fostering global peace through the deployment of peace-keeping troops to the UN.
Ms Kalamwina told the students that Zambia has been home to thousands of refugees fleeing from other countries which are engulfed in civil strife and political turmoil.
She also discussed with the students the efforts Zambia is making to end Child Early and Forced marriages through the revision of some of the customary and statutory laws.
On gender equality, Ms Kalamwina said Zambia has performed well in mainstreaming gender in all sectors with the country’s Vice-President being female as well as the head of the Judiciary which is headed by a female.