Chinese Ambassador to Zambia LI JIE has said bilateral trade volume between China and Zambia has increased dramatically from USD 2.36 billion in 2017 to USD 5.07 billion in 2018.
Mr. JIE has also said China’s focus in its economic cooperation with Zambia is now skewed towards promoting direct private sector investments that will not require any sovereign guarantees from the Zambian Government.
He stated that Zambia has a trade surplus with China which has seen the figure grow significantly from USD 1.25 billion in 2015 to USD 3.13 billion USD in 2018. The Ambassador attributed the situation to the strength of the two country’s economic partnership.
“Given that Zambia has over the last few years been faced with an increasing trade deficit and diminishing foreign exchange reserves, current trade relations with China are of vital importance especially that the country aims to accelerate its push for exports to the large Chinese market,” Mr. JIE said.
The Chinese envoy took the opportunity to urge the Zambian Government to continue protecting and growing the country’s world acclaimed reputation as an “economically stable and politically democratic nation whose citizens cherish peace.”
He was speaking, Wednesday, when he paid a courtesy call on Zambia’s Minister of Finance, MARGARET MWANAKATWE at her office in Lusaka. The Ambassador was accompanied by Economic Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Lusaka, OUYANG DAOBING.
Further, the Ambassador stated that Zambia is one of his country’s top non-financial investment destinations on the African continent and ranks among the leading countries in the implementation of the Johannesburg Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAChttps://www.focac.org/eng/) framework.
“For four consecutive years from 2015 to 2018, Chinese investments to Zambia have ranked second among African countries,” he said, and added that, “by the end of 2018, China’s direct investment stock in Zambia accumulated to over USD 3.6 billion.”
Chinese investment has significantly contributed to Zambia’s industrialisation drive in sectors such as mining, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, transportation and tourism, Mr. JIE said, and that Chinese companies have created over fifty-thousand [50, 000] local jobs, achieved skill transfer, and are raising the living standards of many people, locally.
He also took the opportunity to invite Mrs. MWANAKATWE to the first ever China-Africa Trade Expo to held in Changsha, China, later this year.
Speaking at the same event, Mrs. MWANAKATWE applauded the assurance made by the Chinese Ambassador that among China’s future dimensions of cooperation with Zambia will be the focus on non-sovereign guaranteed private sector investments. She said the approach to promote direct investments will help build confidence in Zambia’s medium term debt strategy on the local and international market.
The Minister said through diversification and enhanced value chain promotion programmes, Zambia will take advantage of the warm relationship it has with China to ship more non-traditional exports to the world’s second largest economy and the world’s largest sovereign market.
Mrs. MWANAKATWE took the opportunity to brief Ambassador JIE that the Ministry of Finance was on course for a well-structured ARTICLE 4 CONSULTATION process with the International Monetary Fund [IMF] to be held towards the end of the current fiscal quarter. The Minister reiterated the commitment of the Zambian Government to engage both local and foreign investors on a frequent basis in order to improve information exchange on matters of mutual business and investment interest.