18 October 2017

Africa: The Sino-African Infrastructure Development Symposium Successfully Held

From 12th - 13th October, the Sino-African Infrastructure Development Symposium was jointly held by the Chinese Embassy in Zambia and the Policy Monitoring and Research Center (PMRC), a main think tank in Zambia. H.E. Mr. Yang Youming, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, Hon. Ronald Chitotela, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, and Guest of Honor, Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Ms. Bernadette Deka, Executive Director of PMRC, representatives from the business and academic circles, and representatives from Chinese enterprises in Zambia, more than 150 people attended the Symposium.

Ambassador Yang remarked that infrastructure is the foundation of a country's modernization drive and the only law for national development of any country in the world. China's development experience has fully proved that infrastructure development is the crucial way to promote economic growth, create jobs and eliminate poverty. China's development over the past years testifies that the development of infrastructure should first abide by the principle of sustainable development to ensure that an infrastructure project achieves sufficient profit to sustain its own redevelopment. Secondly, infrastructure development should observe the principle of diversification of financing and management to keep exploring new models of financing and management in an open-minded way. Thirdly, infrastructure development should fulfil the principle of aligning infrastructure projects with economic development zones to drive the development of relevant regions.

Ambassador Yang stressed that China and Zambia have enjoyed a long history of friendship, of which infrastructure cooperation stands out as an important part. The cooperation can be traced back to TAZARA and now has covered all aspects of infrastructure development. China has a wealth of experience in infrastructure construction, and China's construction efficiency and project quality are among the best in the world, while Zambia is going through a fast infrastructure development period, and the cooperation in infrastructure development between China and Zambia enjoys a promising prospect. Under the framework of FOCAC and the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese side is committed to continuing to help Zambia improve its level of infrastructure development for an early realization of the Vision 2030.

Hon. Chitotela, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development and Guest of Honor said that Zambia is currently going through a period of large-scale infrastructure development, and the symposium is held at the right time for the public to fully understand the importance and necessity of infrastructure development to Zambia's socio-economic development and render more active support to the government-led major infrastructure projects. Zambia appreciates China's significant contribution to Zambia's infrastructure development, and hopes to further strengthen cooperation by taking in Chinese technology and standards, and comprehensively improve the level of infrastructure to help realize the 7th National Development Plan goals and the 2030 vision.

Hon. Mwanakatwe, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry said that the symposium, which is the first of its kind, will play an important role in promoting infrastructure cooperation between China and African countries including Zambia, and Zambia's socio-economic development. Infrastructure, especially road infrastructure development, is the prerequisite of commercial activities. All stakeholders concerned shall actively participate in the infrastructure development to lay a good foundation for the economic development of Zambia.

Ms. Deka, Executive Director of PMRC said that the Symposium focuses on the infrastructure development cooperation between China and Africa, and expressed her hope that the delegates would actively participate in the discussions to enhance mutual understanding and share experiences and contribute wisdom for promoting Zambia's socio-economic development and Zambia-China cooperation in various fields.

During the Symposium, representatives from both the Zambian and Chinese sides enthusiastically discussed on topics such as "Opportunities and Challenges for the Development of Infrastructure", "How to Optimize the Policy Environment for Infrastructure Construction", "Experiences and Lessons in China's Infrastructure Development", which enhanced mutual understanding and further consolidated the consensus. The symposium to also put forward suggestions for future infrastructure development cooperation between China and Zambia.

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