Chinese investment in Zambia grew by more than 40% last year compared to a year earlier despite the global financial crisis that affected direct foreign investment in Africa and the Southern African country.
Mr Li Qiangmin Chinese ambassador to Zambia said that China invested USD 1.2 billion in 2009 through projects like the agriculture, education, road development, construction, hydro power project and mining and created more than 25,000 jobs.
He cited the reopening of Luanshya mine in Luanshya town as a show case and that the investment by China Non Ferrous Metals Mining has helped revitalise the city.
Mr Qiangmin said that the planned investment into Munali Nickel Mine by Jing Chuan Group and re-opening of the country’s sole nickel mine next month was an indication of China’s commitment to co-operate with Zambia. He said that with the closure of the mine, Luanshya was a ghost town but now there are a lot of activities. Next month we are reopening Munali Nickel Mine that will employ about 1,000 people.
Mr Li said the cooperation between Zambia and China is very vibrant citing the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority project as a symbolic relationship existing between the two nations. He said that his government is concerned with the operations of TAZARA and will bring a technical team into Zambia next month to improve on the company’s efficiency. Zambia has a vibrant future with a lot of business opportunities for the private sector to invest.
He commended the Zambian government for its resilience noting that the country’s economy last year grew by 6.3% despite the global financial crisis, an indication of a sign of strong economy.
Mr LI said that “Very few countries in Africa recorded the growth that Zambia achieved. Zambia is not just showing signs of strong economy, but we are also seeing inflation falling to below 10%.”
Mr Buleti Nsemukila permanent secretary of Zambia’s Commerce, Trade and Industry commended that China for remaining a friend since pre independence days when China provided support to freedom fighters.
Mr Nsemukila said that China’s involvement in many development programmes including mining, energy, road construction and the development of multi-facility economic zones intended to expand the economy further. Zambia should brace for more investment from China, adding that last year Government signed an Investment Protection Agreement with one Chinese firm that has committed to invest more than USD 5 billion. The Chinese New Year falls on February 14th 2010 and will mark the Year of the Tiger.