9 March 2014

Zambia: China Urged to Boost Support for Infrastructure

Lusaka — China's involvement in the development of Zambia's infrastructure could not have come at a better time than now when the southern African nation needs to attract foreign investors, analysts told Xinhua on Friday.

The analysts feel that China is among foreign countries that have taken a lead in helping Zambia develop its infrastructure which has been in a deplorable state for years.

"Infrastructure in Zambia has been quite in a deplorable state for a long time and we thank China for having come at an opportune time like now when it is doing a good job in investing in the country's infrastructure," Dr. Francis Chigunta, a development expert and lecturer of development studies at the University of Zambia, said in an interview.

He said the contribution of China to the development of Zambia' s infrastructure should not be ignored because the Asian country has been involved in Zambia's infrastructure development since the 1970s, but noted that the current infrastructure developments are needed to spur economic development.

"Infrastructure is critical to attract foreign investment and no investor can go to a country where infrastructure is in a deplorable state and the infrastructure developments we are seeing now will be a catalyst to boost foreign investment," he added.

While acknowledging the contribution of China to Zambia's infrastructure development, the analyst urged the Asian nation to consider helping Zambia improve its railway infrastructure, saying the infrastructure has been in a deplorable state for years.

"We have a very big challenge with railway infrastructure. Most of the tracks have not been rehabilitated for a long time and we would need China to move in," he added.

The expert urged Chinese companies to consider transferring their technology to Zambian companies in order to boost the capacity of the southern African nation to continue improving its infrastructure.

Langton Sichone, a political and economic analyst, said China's support to the development of infrastructure in Zambia could not be ignored as the various projects the country has supported are there for all to see.

He however said technological transfer was critical in order to help Zambia maintain its infrastructure in good condition, adding that Zambia has had a problem of maintaining infrastructure.

"China should transfer its technological know-how to Zambia so that Zambians are trained. Once we have the technology, we will be able to maintain our infrastructure," he added.

China has been involved in various infrastructure projects in Zambia ranging from construction of ultra-modern stadia, roads and power plants.

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