Last month, I attended the opening ceremony of the 2023 Confucius Institute Job Exposition at the University of Zambia. More than 80 Chinese and Zambian businesses provided more than 700 jobs, and more than 1,000 applicants participated in the event. When communicating with job seekers and employers, I felt youth and passion for China-Zambia friendship. When leaving, I was full of confidence that China-Zambia friendship holds great promise. My confidence comes from four sources.
The first source is the complete success of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Hon. Frank Tayali, Minister of Transport and Logistics attended the event on behalf of Zambia. President Xi Jinping announced eight major steps China will take to support the joint pursuit of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation: building a multidimensional Belt and Road connectivity network, supporting an open world economy, carrying out practical cooperation, promoting green development, advancing scientific and technological innovation, supporting people-to-people exchanges, promoting integrity-based Belt and Road cooperation, and strengthening institutional building for international Belt and Road cooperation. Over the past five years since Zambia joined the Belt and Road Initiative, the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro power Project (KGL), Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Center and Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital have been delivered with Chinese assistance, and played an important and positive role in promoting Zambia's economic development and improving people's livelihood. The eight major steps represent new opportunities for future cooperation between China and Zambia.
The second source is the steady growth of the Chinese economy. In the first three quarters of this year, China's GDP grew by 5.2%, higher than the forecast by most institutes, and better than other major economies, while CPI rose by just 0.4%. In October, China's industrial output grew by 4.6% year on year, and total retail sales of consumer goods rose by 7.6%. The Chinese economy has shown strong resilience and vitality. China's high-quality development has contributed to world economic recovery and pushed the "accelerator button" for China-Zambia cooperation.
The third source is President Hakainde Hichilema's successful state visit to China. The two Heads of State announced the establishment of a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, and readiness to focus on cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, mining, clean energy, among other areas. Over the past two months, both sides have been devoted to translating the outcomes of the State Visit into specific projects of China-Zambia cooperation as soon as possible, to create more jobs for Zambian young people and provide more opportunities for the Zambian people.
The fourth source is the optimistic outlook for next year. The year 2024 will mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the 60th anniversary of Zambia's independence and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Zambia diplomatic relations. As agreed by the two Heads of State, it will also be the Year of Business Cooperation and the Year of Culture and Tourism. A series of major events will be organized then to help the two countries forge even closer ties in all practical areas.
Employment is of great significance to people in China and Zambia, affecting lives of millions of families, with a bearing on a country’s economic performance at large. The Confucius Institute Job Exposition has been an important platform for personnel exchanges between college graduates and Chinese businesses in Zambia, with concrete measures to support job creation for Zambian young people. This year's Job Exposition has set a record in terms of participating companies, number of jobs provided and job-seeking graduates, which reflects the confidence in China, Zambia and China-Zambia relations from both the supply side and demand side of the job market.
The development of Chinese businesses in Zambia will not be possible without local professionals. Meanwhile, the expansion of Chinese businesses will be accompanied by more human resource demands and provide more job opportunities for Zambian youth. I will, as always, call on Chinese businesses to seize the opportunity of the latest development of China-Zambia relations, expand investment in Zambia, actively fulfill social responsibilities, create more jobs at different levels, and work to achieve all-win results for China, Zambia and themselves.
Looking forward, China will continue to be the largest market and most economically dynamic part of the world. China-Zambia relations enjoy a solid foundation and unlimited opportunities. I hope that Zambian young students will learn more about China and embrace China. To embrace China is to embrace opportunities, peace and development.
Author：Du Xiaohui, Chinese Ambassador