An economic and trade cooperation zone was launched by China in the Zambian capital of Lusaka on Sunday. This is China’s first ever such enterprise in an African country.
Chinese President, Hu Jintao and his Zambian counterpart, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, jointly inaugurated the Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone.
The zone's establishment is part of China's efforts to fulfill earlier promises to improve fully-fledged cooperation with African nations.
Hu announced at the Beijing Summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last November eight measures designed to strengthen collaboration including the establishment of three to five trade and economic cooperation zones in Africa over the next three years.
"The aim of my African tour is to consolidate the traditional friendship between China and Africa, implement the results achieved at the Beijing summit of FOCAC, expand pragmatic cooperation and seek common development," Hu said at the inauguration ceremony.
The government would encourage and support qualified Chinese enterprises in their investment in the zone and efforts to make a contribution to Zambia's economic development and social progress, Hu said.
Mwanawasa pledged to further improve the investment environment and hoped that more Chinese and foreign enterprises would locate in the zone bringing along with them ‘know how’ and expertise necessary for the development of the zone and Zambia in general.
The zone, located in Zambia's Copper Belt Province, is designed to form a production chain with the Chambisi Copper Smelter as the core enterprise.
The establishment of the zone is expected to boost the development of Zambia's light industries and the construction materials, home electrical appliance, pharmacy and food processing sectors, increase the country's exports and create job opportunities.
Hu arrived in Zambia on Saturday on a three-day state visit. Zambia is the fourth leg of his eight-nation African tour which has taken him to Cameroon, Liberia and Sudan. Hu will also travel to Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and the Seychelles.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2007)