Zambia and the People’s Republic of China started their diplomatic relations since October 1964. Zambia was the first country in Southern Africa to establish diplomatic ties with China. This partnership witnessed the construction of the famous Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA) line, which stands as a monument of friendship between the two countries. Bilateral trade between China and Zambia increased substantially from less than US$100 million at the beginning of the century to more than US$ 3.8 billion in 2014, where Zambia enjoyed a trade surplus of US$ 2.36 billion. Zambia is China’s third largest trading partner in Southern Africa, and China is Zambia’s second largest export destination and the third largest source of import.
Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) acts as one‐stop facility for a host of functions related to enhancing foreign investment. These include the formulation and implementation of investment promotion strategies; coordination of government policies on investment; ensuring that the industry develops in a way that is ecologically sustainable and contributes to concrete benefits for Zambians; and a wide range of incentives for investors.
There are around 600 Chinese enterprises in Zambia, and their investment goes into nearly all sectors, including mining, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, construction, telecommunications, trading, tourism, financial services and others. This has made China to become one of the major investors in Zambia. China’s non-financial direct investment in Zambia has increased significantly, and created tens of thousands of jobs, benefiting many families.
The partnership between China and Africa with particular reference to the Eight Point Implementation Plan announced by the then President Hu Jintao during the Beijing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in November, 2006 in which one of those eight points was the establishment of five (5) Trade and Economic Cooperation Zones in Africa between 2007 to 2009, and the Eight Point Implementation Plan announced in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt In 2009. Zambia is one of the first African Countries to benefit from this commitment (eight point implementation plan) through the establishment of the Chambishi Multi Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ), in which investment amounting to approximately nine hundred million United States Dollars (US$ 900 Million) has been committed. The Zone is being developed by the Chinese Government through the China Non-Ferrous Metal Mining (Group) Corporation Limited (CNMC).
Chinese presence in Zambia is highly visible in the extractive industry, infrastructure development, energy sector, telecommunications, manufacturing, agriculture and multi-facility economic zones.
On the other hand, the year 2016 marks the beginning of the counting down of the years set to achieve the new targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. SDGs aim to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions namely economic, social and environmental in a balanced and integrated manner. The 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. More specifically to the African Continent, the AU adopted the ambitious vision and action plan Agenda 2063, for a peaceful, prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny, which was partly motivated by the changing global context. It calls for self-reliance and has a robust focus on domestic resource mobilization. This opens tremendous opportunities to combat illicit financial flows, and strengthen tax administration for sustainable development goals among other.
It was in this context, Oxfam International’s Africa-China Dialogue Platform (ACDP) organised a dialogue on the theme Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on China’s Engagement with Zambia: Opportunities and Challenges for Achieving SDGs and Agenda 2063 on the 29th and 30th of November 2016. The major objectives of the dialogue were to (i) critical examination of key features of Zambia-China bilateral partnership in general and the thematic focus areas in particular; (ii) reflect on the opportunities and challenges of the Chinese engagement in Zambia? How can the opportunities and challenges be best seized and addressed respectively? (iii) Proffer how Zambia can leverage the benefits of trade, investment and development assistance and at the same time mitigate the risks of engaging with China? (iv) bring stakeholders from various circles to share analysis and generate ideas on effective strategies for enhancing Zambia-China bilateral partnership to achieve SDGs and Agenda 2063; and (v) create a platform for discussion on how China has played a role or expected to play a role in its engagement with Zambia.
The multi-stakeholder dialogue deliberated on issues of varying relevance to policy makers, academia, development partners, the general public, civil society organisations and the private sector. It seeks to increase public awareness on the issues, the essence and extent of partnerships with China and, lessons to learn and opportunities to seize. The dialogue critically examined the reasons why China engage in Zambia, analysing the development assistance and investments required for Zambia to achieve the SDGs and Agenda 2063, given the lessons learnt from the MDGs. It also identified the opportunities, challenges and also forwarded policy recommendations for Zambian government on development partnerships with China for the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.
Over 120 participants drawn from the government, civil society, think thanks, private sector, international organisations and embassies based in Lusaka as well as the Media among others took part in the discussion. Get full article here.