GUANGZHOU, China, Sept. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Fredrick Mutesa, secretary general of the Zambia-China Friendship Association, accompanied Hichilema on the Zambian president’s first state visit to China from September 10 to 16. “The visits to the three provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Fujian have been eye-openers. Reading about China’s achievements is one thing, and seeing them is another,” Mutesa said in a recent interview with GDToday.
“Hichilema’s China visit to seek solutions to Zambia’s development challenges”
Mutesa told GDToday that during the week-long tour of China, Hichilema was seeking practical solutions to development challenges confronting Zambia. “He is looking for affordable capital and technology and offering Zambia’s natural resources, particularly strategic minerals that are driving the global economy today, such as copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and lithium,” Mutesa noted.
In Shenzhen of Guangdong province, the delegation’s first stop in China, Hichilema visited Chinese electric carmaker BYD, internet giant Tencent, and technology firms Huawei and ZTE.
“Huawei and ZTE are already in Zambia. President Hichilema wants to deepen and broaden existing economic relations. There are other companies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing companies that utilize the raw materials Zambia is richly endowed with. President Hichilema wants to harness the comparative advantage of both countries for win-win results,” Mutesa elaborated.
“BRI projects, a major impetus to Zambian economy”
Mutesa noted that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has positively impacted Zambia’s economic development. “The Chinese-built hydropower plant, Kafue Lower Gorge Power Station, is now fully operational and has eased Zambia’s electricity shortage. It is also contributing to the southern African region’s energy needs.”
“President Hichilema’s government has also concluded several private partnership projects with Chinese construction companies to upgrade Zambia’s road infrastructure, such as the Chililabombwe-Kasumbalesa road, connecting Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the approximately 327 km Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway, scheduled for completion in 2026. There are also projects in the water supply and sanitation sector, including the Kafulafuta Dam and the Kafue Bulk Water Supply Project,” Mutesa elaborated.
“These projects under the BRI are giving a major impetus to the Zambian economy and improving the welfare of its people,” he said.
For future China–Zambia cooperation, Mutesa said that Hichilema’s China visit has emphasized collaboration in the digital economy, electric vehicles, and green economy. “Traditional areas of cooperation, including mining, agriculture, and energy, have also been prioritized. Tourism is another,” he noted.