By Kapembwa Simbao
China’s trade balance with Zambia, Africa’s largest producer of copper remained robust at more than USD 2 billion, making it the third largest beneficiary in the Southern African region.
Mr Li Qiangmin Chinese ambassador to Zambia said that the relationship between the two countries has remained cordial, resulting in the trade balance swelling to USD 2.2 billion in recent years because of the closer bilateral relationship the two countries enjoy.
Mr Qiangmin said during the Chinese New Year in Lusaka that the influx of Chinese investment in Zambia is a sign that the two countries want to promote fair trade and if the country wants to grow its economy, it should do so with the help of China. If you want to grow your economy as Zambia, do business with China which is an emerging economy.
He said that China was one of the biggest investment resource for Zambia. So as the Chinese embassy, we have challenges because of all the investment opportunities but this is good and it is not true that Chinese investment is only focusing on the mining sector, we are also looking at other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. So far we have 25 farms being run by Chinese, the potential for investments is big.
Ms Mizinga Melu MD of Standard Chartered Bank Zambia said that in 2010, African and Chinese trade exceeded USD 110 billion from USD 90 billion recorded in 2009. She said that the USD 2.2 billion trade between China and Zambia is set to enhance closer socio economic partnerships and ties.
The lender believes that the amount is likely to continue rising as the economic partnerships between China and Zambia continue to develop, to strengthen and grow. Standard Chartered Bank signed a MoU with the Agricultural Bank of China and that the partnership focuses on providing further support for the Africa and China trade corridor by opening a new representative office in Angola.
Ms Melu said that we believe we can deliver because we are able to offer our clients whether they are in Zambia, London, New York or China a very unique service.
The Africa and China trade corridor is the right strategy for Zambia and that the Africa and China trade corridor would give further credence to the revaluation of African and Zambian assets. It would also strengthen global perceptions of African countries as international investment destinations.
During the signing of MoU between MTN, Standard Chartered and other financial institutions after MTN’s successful negotiations for a loan for capital expenditure requirements and general corporate purposes, Ms Melu said Zambian banks had effectively worked together to raise money in the improvement of the local economy despite being able to compete against each other.
She said that we have come to work together by facilitating to raise ZMK 600 billion what is interesting is that this is in local currency and will be used locally.
Mr Farhad Khan CEO of MTN said that the transaction was between Standard Chartered, Stanbic, Citibank, Barclays Zambia and ABSA Capital, a division of ABSA Bank Limited of South Africa. The facility reflected tangible proof of the growing confidence in the Zambian financial sector.
Mr Khan said that it reflects an increase in confidence by domestic banks as well as international investors and institutions. MTN has seen substantial growth in the last year of performance with 60% growth increase in subscribers from 1.2 million to 1.9 million.
He said that MTN also saw a share market increase of eight per cent from 26%to 34%. In order to accommodate this tremendous growth in subscribers, MTN Zambia plans to spend ZMK 160 billion on expansion projects during the course of 2011.