Home » China, Zambia Strengthen Relations, Prioritize Core Economic Areas

China, Zambia Strengthen Relations, Prioritize Core Economic Areas

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

In a bid to bolster mutual cooperation, China and Zambia have elevated their bilateral relations, now categorizing them as a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.” This development followed a meeting in Beijing between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Zambian counterpart, President Hakainde Hichilema.

During their discussions on Friday, President Xi expressed China’s commitment to assisting Zambia in preserving its national sovereignty and bolstering its security and developmental goals.

A significant aspect of their collaboration centers on China’s increased imports from Zambia. The two leaders broached a spectrum of cooperative areas, including infrastructure, mining, clean energy, and agriculture.

Zambia, grappling with its external debt owed to China, is keen on not only reworking the terms but also augmenting trade avenues with the Asian economic giant. This meeting underpins Zambia’s broader strategy to engage more with the world’s second-largest economy.

Hichilema, on his part, expressed gratitude towards China for its role in championing the African Union’s inclusion in the Group of 20 major economies.

This sentiment was particularly resonant during the G20 summit held in New Delhi on Sept. 9-10. Further, he acknowledged China’s instrumental role in addressing Zambia’s debt concerns, although specific details or announcements regarding debt agreements remained under wraps.

Drawing on data from the American Enterprise Institute think tank, China’s commercial footprints in Zambia are notable. Between 2014 and 2023, China initiated over 30 projects under its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative in Zambia. Cumulatively valued at $11.3 billion, these projects span diverse sectors from energy, agriculture to aviation. Zambia’s trade contribution to China is also noteworthy, with copper exports to China constituting approximately a fifth of Zambia’s total exports.

President Hichilema vocalized Zambia’s adherence to the one-China policy and expressed admiration for China’s modernization strategy. Drawing inspiration from China’s growth trajectory, he hinted at Zambia’s aspirations to glean insights from China’s developmental blueprint.

In reciprocation, Xi emphasized China’s initiatives to pave the way for the influx of Zambian high-quality goods into the Chinese market. Concurrently, he voiced support for encouraging more China-based companies to explore investment opportunities in Zambia.

President Hichilema’s diplomatic trip to China is slated to conclude on Saturday.

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