Honorable Mr. Elias Mubanga, Acting Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry,
Distinguished guests and Friends from the press,
Welcome to attend this Media Briefing.
On 28th and 29th September, the China-Zambia Trade and Investment Forum will be held at the China-Aided Kenneth Kaunda Wing, Mulungushi International Conference Center (MICC). The Forum will be co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, cosponsored by Zambia Development Agency, China Non Ferrous Metal Company and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The theme of this forum is China-Zambia Trade and Investment in the New Era: “All-weather, All-dimensional, High-quality”.
The Forum will set 3 following records.
First,the largest in scale. Nearly 200 Chinese enterprises have officially signed up for the forum. We also invited about 10 Chinese Fortune 500 enterprises such as BYD, Zijin Mining and CMOC to attend the Forum offline.
Second, the broadest in coverage. The forum will be characterized by high-level opening ceremony, 5 parallel forum sessions, panel discussions, Business to Government Meetings (B2Gs) and Business to Business Meetings (B2Bs) as well as the Exhibition of Enterprises. The 5 parallel forums will be held with the themes of China-Zambia Trade and Investment Cooperation in the New Era; Promoting Belt and Road Cooperation for China-Zambia Connectivity; Empowering the Development of China-Zambia Mining Industry; Exploring China-Zambia Cooperation in the Fields of Emerging Industries and Enhancing China-Zambia Agricultural Cooperation. The parallel forums will be perfect platforms for the discussion of China-Zambia practical cooperation.
Third, most fruitful outcomes. The two sides will sign several significant agreements. The Chinese Embassy will publish two books: “The Comprehensive Guide to Investing in Zambia” and “Yellow Pages of the Chinese Companies in Zambia ”.
There are 3 aspects of the background of the Forum.
First, The successful phone conversation between President Xi Jinping and President Hakainde Hichilema provided political preparation and policy guidance for the Forum. President Xi stressed that promoting solidarity and cooperation with Zambia and other African countries is China's long-term and firm strategic choice. President Hichilema said that Zambia supports the Belt and Road Initiative, Global Development Initiative， Global Security Initiative, and stands ready to work with China to actively advance the implementation of the initiatives, and deepen all-round cooperation within the FOCAC framework. The core essence of the Forum is to implement the outcomes of the two Presidents’ phone conversation, and advance the China-Zambia relations steadily through practical economic cooperation.
Second, the debt issue shouldn’t stall China-Zambia bilateral cooperation. The essence of the debt problem is to get initial capital for development, and the key to solve the debt problem is development, which demands investment and economic increase. So my embassy initiated to hold the Forum to attract more Chinese companies to invest in Zambia. President Hichilema’s attention and substantial support has indicated the aspiration of the Zambian side to develop economic and trade cooperation with China.
Third, investment needs platforms. The implementation of investment needs material support such as electricity and water, as well as good polices. The 3 well-equipped MFEZs related to China are best choices. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Zambia-China Cooperation Zone, offering us a good chance to hold the Forum. The Forum will help advertise Zambia’s good policies on investment, attracting more Chinese investors to establish factories and makets in all cooperation zones.
China is an important investment partner of Zambia. Up to now, the tax paid by enterprises in the cooperation zones has exceeded 1 billion US dollars. There are over 600 Chinese companies in Zambia, with investment of over 3 billion US dollars and about 50 thousand jobs created. China is also an important trade partner of Zambia. Over the first half of this year, the total bilateral value of trade was 3.76 billion US dollars, representing nearly 40% increase compared with the same period of last year, while Zambia enjoyed a trade surplus of 2.92 billion US dollars. Chinese projects has boosted Zambia’s development. The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Power Station, built by Chinese company,now takes up 22% of Zambia’s total electricity generation capacity, making Zambia a net electricity exporter.
Dear friends from the media:
I hope that you could also support the Chinese companies to upscale their investment in Zambia. The China-Zambia economic cooperation enjoys a long history and is in large scale. There seems to be negative news about Chinese companies because of the large proportion of China’s investment. We want to take 3 approaches to solve the problem: First, upscale the quality investment and make the pie bigger,this is also the original intention of holding the Forum. Second,the Chinese government and I will communicate with Chinese companies regularly, requesting them to follow Zambian and Chinese laws, and take social responsibilities. Third,the Embassy will not shield any Chinese company or national who behaves illegally.
To expand China-Zambia investment cooperation needs the strong support of friends from the press. Focusing on a few isolated cases, ignoring the whole, may just frighten off Chinese investment. This does no good to the development of the both countries, it is also not the original propose of the friends from the press. The Embassy is willing to work closely with the press, defending the China-Zambia traditional friendship. I do believe that with the help from you, the Forum will make a big success, enhance the bilateral investment cooperation, and bring China-Zambia relations into the new phase of All-Weather, All Dimensional,and High Quality.