China and Zambia: A Blossoming Friendship Fueled by Strategic Partnerships
China-Zambia Historical Connections
China and Zambia share a rich history of cooperation and mutual support that dates back to the 1960s. This connection was initiated when China backed Zambia’s endeavor for national independence, making Zambia the first southern African nation to formally establish diplomatic ties with China. Over the years, this bond has been strengthened through various collaborative initiatives, embedding a friendship lasting for more than half a century.
Joint Projects: Building a Path towards Progress
China and Zambia have jointly spearheaded numerous projects aimed at improving Zambia’s infrastructure and stimulating its economic growth. In the 1970s, the two countries collaborated to construct the Tanzanian Railway—also referred to as the Road of Friendship and the Road of Freedom—in response to a request from Tanzania and Zambia. The TAZARA Memorial Park, inaugurated in Lusaka in 2022, serves as a tribute to the Chinese engineers and workers who sacrificed their lives during the project.
Fast forward to recent years, the two nations have embarked on several other developmental projects. Together, they have built new terminals at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport, and established state-of-the-art milling plants to stabilize food prices for Zambians. They have also successfully completed the Kafue Bulk Water Supply Project, providing access to clean and safe water for approximately 500,000 residents in Lusaka.
A Beacon of Economic Growth: The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station
Among the collaborative achievements of China and Zambia, the Chinese-built Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station stands out. Located 90km south of Lusaka, this plant has been operational since March and has proven instrumental in invigorating local businesses with a stable electricity supply. The success of this project underscores the potential of energy as a catalyst for economic growth, a sentiment echoed by Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.
Trade and Economic Collaboration: A Win-Win Situation
In 2022, China and Zambia signed protocols to facilitate the export of stevia and soybean meal to China. The same year witnessed China granting Zambia zero-tariff treatment on 98% of taxable export products. These developments have significantly boosted bilateral trade between the two countries, with a trade volume of $6.73 billion marking a 30.2% year-on-year increase, and setting an all-time high.
Learning from China’s Modernization Strategy
During a recent state visit to China, President Hichilema expressed his intent to learn from China’s modernization strategy. Chinese President Xi Jinping responded positively, stating that China’s modernization approach could present new opportunities for all nations, including Zambia.
In conclusion, the deep-rooted friendship and strategic partnership between China and Zambia continue to blossom, fostering mutual growth and development. As both countries look towards the future, their shared history forms a solid foundation upon which they can continue to build a prosperous and fruitful alliance.
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