28 July 2012

Zambia: Country's Firm Economy - Gateway to U.S.$20 Billion

CHINESE Ambassador to Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao says Zambia stands to benefit from the US$20 billion credit facility meant to support sustainable development in Africa because of its stable economic outlook.

The money will be disbursed to African countries through the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

And Mr Zhou has implored the media in Zambia to report objectively on Chinese activities in Zambia for the bilateral relations between the two countries to be strengthened and sustained.

Speaking during the 5th FOCAC Ministerial Conference briefing at his embassy in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Zhou said during the opening of the conference that Chinese President, Hu Jintao announced five priority areas which included supporting the cause of peace and development in Africa in the next three years.

In the first area, he said, China sought to expand cooperation in the investment and financing to support sustainable development in Africa by providing US $20 billion.

The money will assist African countries in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr Zhou said 50 African countries participated in the conference and that if the $20 billion was equally distributed, each country would receive about $400 million.

He said countries with viable projects coupled with the capacity to pay back the credit stood a greater chance to receive more funding.

He observed that there were heavily indebted countries which were not entitled to receiving credit under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regulations because of their insolvency, but that Zambia did not fall in that bracket.

"Some other countries can take more. Those that have the capacity to pay back and Zambia, I think, is currently regarded as a country that has the capacity to pay back and so chances for you are quite high," he said.

He said his country sought to promote peace and stability in Africa and create a secure environment for Africa's development through providing financial support to the African Union (AU) peace-keeping missions in Africa besides training more peace-keepers.

"In the next three years, China-Africa cooperation will be extended into meteorological infrastructure, regional security matters, transnational and intra-regional infrastructural development, an indication of a gradual shift from traditional areas to new ground and from bilateral to multilateral. China-Africa collaboration enjoys a very bright future," he said.

He said there was need for Zambia and China to continue working together, saying in a globalised world, no country should work single-handedly, adding that both countries would benefit from each other in areas they had comparative advantage over the other.

"China needs Zambia as much as Zambia needs China," he said.

The 5th FOCAC was held in Beijing, China from July 19 to 20, 2012. It seeks to strengthen cooperation between China and Africa to jointly meet the challenges of economic globalisation and to promote development.

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