As a Chinese working in Zambia, I would like to say something after reading this report (by Laura Miti).
First,why lots of chinese companies like hiring chinese people?
Actually,the costs of hiring a chinese worker is at least ten times more than hiring a zambian worker.Is is just because all the chinese bosses in zambia are so stupid that they don’t know how to cut the cost?In the depth of there heart,they really want to hire as many zambian workers as possible and hire less chinese to reduce cost.But in some cases,they have no better choice.
As someone mentioned in the article, I really think zambian have a very poor and lazy work culture,my zambian driver refuses to work overtime after 17 hours in the afternoon even if i promise to pay extra allowance,saying that it time to relax rather than working though in fact he is very poor.It is unimaginable in china,since chinese people can work even 24 hours or longer just in order to finish a project on time as long as they can earn extra money,or sometimes even though they can not get extra payment,just do it out of responsibility.That is the most noticible difference between the Zambian and Chinese workers.Besides hard-working,the chinese workers are also more loyal,skillful and relialbe than the zambian workers.This is my personal point of view,but the general mindset of most chinese employers in zambia.
Workers,being hard-working ,skillful and loyal is crucial to the success of a project especially those complicated,large-scaled,time-limited projects.Perhaps that is why in lots of cases,projects done by chinese contractors are fast and good but if done by local zambian contractor,delayed and problematic.
Second,why Zambia can not leave china?
I think the honourable Sata make a very good choice to show his kindness and friendship with the chinese government and the chinese people after he came into power.China is the only one county in the world that show such a great interest and willingness to invest in Afica,the capital source of a lot of projects done by the chinese contractor are from the chinese bank rather than locals just because the conccessional loans offered by the chinese government.The interest rate of course is much lower than that of the local banks.Some projects are even funded by the chinese government as aid rather than loan.Can the USA ,UK,India,or any other countries in the world can do so?
I have to admit that some chinese goods are really cheap and with low quality.but can you image how difficult it is for such an item traveling so so far from the other end of the world to Zambia and going through so many links can still keep such a low price and be affordable for most of the normal people.Or can you image a zambian market without chinese goods and with imported goods from south africa,western countries or other countries? I am sure that the inflation rate, living cost of zambian will all rise,consequently the unemployment rate will go up and the life of normal people will be more difficult.China do produce quality goods with fair price.Fake goods from china flooding into the zambian market is just because most businessmen’s pursuit of maximum profit.
Third,some people say that all chinese people should go out of zambia.
I really think this words stupid.If Zambia wants to achieve its fast development and reduce the unemployment,it really need the help of china and the chinese people.What the chinese bring is not only money and commodities,but also skills,knowledge,technolegy,and most importantly the way of how to do things quickly and nicely.
Last,since zambia and china’s friendship have been very good since the government of Mao Zedong and Kuanda.I wish this friendship will goes forever despite difficulties .
See Laura’s article here