Zambia: Chinese investment soars

Nawa Mutumweno – Chinese direct investment into Zambia  have exceeded $3 billion from $1 billion recorded last year.

According to Chinese ambassador to Zambia, Li Qiangmin, Zambia’s exports to China have increased to $2 billion compared with imports of $200 million, signifying the Asian country’s growing consumption of copper and other raw materials needed to fuel the world’s fastest growing economy.

The bulk of   Chinese investments into the country were in mining while there is growing   interest in agriculture, construction and forestry.

“By the end of November 2010, the total recorded direct investments from China into Zambia was over $3 billion. It is not only the mining sector but also in the manufacturing, energy, agriculture and forestry,” Ambassador Li pointed out.

China increased its presence in the local mining sector after taking over mining units like Luanshya Copper Mines and Munali Nickel mine in Mazabuka which were abandoned by the previous owners at the height of the global economic crisis which depressed metal prices.

“Your exports to China is about $2 billion. Our exports to Zambia is about $200 million. You have very big favourable balance of the trade,” he added.

Chinese investments were expected to surge in 2011 as China builds key infrastructure projects in Zambia such as the 50,000 capacity Lusaka Stadium and Kafue Gorge Lower hydropower station.

China would commit over $1.5 billion in support to the power project which is expected to cost $2 billion.

“Zambia is one of the best and most favourable destinations for Chinese investment,” Ambassador Li enthused.