KAMPALA, July 26 (Xinhua) — Zambian Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande has slashed a recent media accusation that China’s aid to Africa leads to the continent’s government corruption and huge debts, saying it is ungrounded.
“It’s unfair to say that China’s aid to Africa leads to corruption and huge debut,” he told Xinhua in an exclusive interview at the sideline of the ongoing 15th African Union summit in Uganda’s capital of Kampala.
“China’s loans are soft loans. There is no serious or difficult conditions attached to that and there is no string attached to the loans from China,” he said.
Pande said China’s aid has helped the African countries to build more infrastructure which is key to their development.
“One time Zambia was in a crisis over its borders to see tense of transporting export and imports and China came to Zambia’s aid by offering to constructing Tanzania-Zambia Railway decades ago.”
He called the accusation “an element of jealousy.”
Pande said the bilateral relations between China and Zambia has been long-standing.
“China’s aid has been great,” he said. “We expect more involvement from China in terms of the infrastructure construction help.”
Conveying messages from the Zambian President Rupiah Banda at the summit which is held under the theme “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa,” Pande said that Zambia has achieved some progress in improving maternal and child health.
“We have recorded a decrease in maternal mortality from 729 deaths per 100,000 live births in the year of 2000 to 591 in 2007, ” he said.
“The under-five mortality has also been reduced from 168 per 1, 000 live births in 2000 to 119 in 2007.”
However, Pande said Zambia is facing deficiencies in health infrastructure, human resources and appropriate equipment, the delivery of quality, comprehensive, integrated and affordable primary health care services remain difficult.
“We realize that we have to be innovative in order to assure continued high quality health care, to promote safe motherhood and enhance child survival,” the foreign minister said.
“To this end, Zambia has developed a plan for maternal, newborn and child health, and authorized midwives to administer a core set of life-saving interventions.”