China and Zambia look back to 53 years of diplomatic, political and economic relations, continuously focusing on the perspectives for future cooperation in various fields. Leaving his post this spirng, Yang Youming, the Ambassador of China to Zambia, discusses the achievements made in the previous years, focusing on successful Chinese investments.
European Times: How would you describe the relations between China and Zambia?
Yang Youming: China and Zambia foster traditionally friendly and cooperative relations, based on equality and mutual benefit. In recent years, the exchange of high-level visits between the two countries has increased in frequency. The cooperation in the field of education is very fruitful; more than 3.500 Zambian students study in China under different scholarship programs. Furthermore, China has provided over 1.800 training opportunities to government officials, technicians, scholars and journalists.
Additionally, the volume of exchange visits of cultural groups and cultural activities has increased substantially. We remain focused on promoting various projects that will further enhance the China-Zambia friendship.
European Times: Could you elaborate on the economic cooperation and the bilateral trade?
Yang Youming: The economic indicators show that the bilateral economic and trade cooperation continues to expand. In 2016, the total trade volume between China and Zambia was US$2.6 billion, with a significant surplus on the Zambian side. In the first half of 2017, the China-Zambia trade volume reached US$1.7 billion, continuing the trend of year-on-year increase, which this year is 19.8%. I am confident that the economic cooperation will continue to prosper and that the figures will increase exponentially.
European times: Which sectors are interesting for Chinese investors?
Yang Youming: There is a growing interest of Chinese companies for investments in various sectors. In 2016, the volume of Chinese direct investments in Zambia amounted to US$378 million; the total volume of investments is now nearly US$4 billion. Zambia remains one of the top ten destinations among all African countries for Chinese investments.
Currently the two countries are working together towards implementing projects such as the expansion of the Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital, the construction of three new milling plants, the Lower Kafue Gorge Hydro Power Plant, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, the new Ndola International Airport, and the Lusaka-Ndola Dual-Carriage Road. Once completed, I am certain that these projects will improve Zambia’s infrastructure development, create more opportunities and bring more benefits to the Zambian people.
European times: Why should foreign investors target Zambia?
Yang Youming: I would like to encourage investors to come and explore the business opportunities in Zambia. While challenges remain, there is also a significant untapped potential.