Prosperity searching Sino-Zambia bilateral cooperation clocks 60 years

Mr. Wang Sheng (centre), Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Zambia

Prosperity searching Sino-Zambia bilateral cooperation clocks 60 years

By Derrick Sinjela  and Henry Soko

The Chinese Embassy hosted a Symposium on Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind: a Better Understanding of China’s Foreign Policy and China-Zambia Cooperation on Good Friday 29th March, 2024

From the outset, Chinese Embassy Staff and Panel Guests extoled the foundation laid by late Mao Zedong (Tuesday, 26th December, 1893 – Thursday, 9th September, 1976) of Communist Party of China (CPC) and the late Dr. Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda ( Monday, 28th April, 1924 – Thursday 17th June, 2021) of the then ruling United National Independence Party (UNIP).

Delegates at the Symposium on Jointly Building a Community
with a Shared Future for Mankind hosted  Mr. Wang Sheng, Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Zambia included  Dr. Fredrick Mutesa, Secretary-General of the Zambia – China Friendship Association (ZCFA),
Mr. Mark Simuuwe, Professional
Advisor to the SG and United  Party for National Development (UPND) Consultant,  Dr. Herrick Mpuku, Executive Director of Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR),
Mr. Sydney Mwamba, Executive Director of Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC), Ms. Rosemary Nsepe, President of
International Relations Association of Zambia (IRAZ) and by Professor David Mwanza, Director of Confucius Institute of the University of Zambia.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Wang, Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy on United Nations Avenue in Lusaka did not hesitate to mention that President Hakainde Hichilema’s 10-16 September 2023 State Visit to China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping has strengthened the bilateral foundation laid by late Mao and the late Dr. Kaunda.

Mao, a Chinese politician, Marxist theorist, military strategist, poet, and revolutionary founded  the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and  led the country from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976.

On the other hand KK, as Dr. Kaunda is revered was a humanist.

President Xi and President Hichilema decided to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.

As the manking grapples with multiple challenges, in a fast-changing and turbulent international environment, Mr.  Wang reiterated China’s role as a staunch force for peace, stability and progress.

Despite odds confronting the world,  an optimistic Wang says President Xi has put forward the 2013 vision of building a community with a shared value.

“The goal is to build an open, inclusive and shared prosperity  anchored on four main initiatives; the Global Development Initiative,  the Global Security Initiative , the Global Civilization Initiative and the High Quality Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Wang.

As a permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, Mr. Wang says China vows to continue engaging in constructively settling international hotspot issues by adhereing to four (4) prinviples; a commitment to non interference in internal affairs, political settlement, objectivity and impartiality and addressing both symptoms and root causes.

On the Ukraine- Russia  Geopolitical war, Wang reiterated President Xi’s desire to restore peace and stability on the European continent.

Turning to the question of Palestine, Wang says China firmly supports the Palestinian peoples’ just cause of regaining their comprehensive legitimate national rights.

On Monday,  25th March,  2024, with support of 14 Security Council members, including China, the Security Council  passed a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire during the ongoing Ramadan, which brgun on Monday,  11th  March 2024 and ends on Tuesday, 9th April, 2024.

Wang says China has submitted a Position Paper of the People’s Republic of China on Resolving the Palestinian- Israeli Conflict, putting forward the working principles and priorities of the international community in five (5,) aspects; promoting a comprehensive ceasefire, effectively protecting civilians,  ensuring humanitarian relief,stepping up diplomatic mediation, and seeking a political solution through the interpretation of the two -state solution.

In developing relations with Africa,  Mr. Wang restated the orinciple of sincerity, real results, amity, good faith and called for a right approach to friendship and peace.

It is worth noting here, that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi tagged China and Africa as brothers treating each other with sincerity and sharing a common future.

“We have fought soulder to shoulder against imperialism and colonialism. We have supported each other in pursuit of development.  Together, we have always stood for justice in a changing international landscape,” Wang paraphrased Chinese Premier Wang Yi.

Pegging China and Zambia as best partners, Mr. Wang is elated that this year marks 60 years of unbroken diplomatic relationship seeking prosperity.

“54 years ago, China selflessly assisted in the construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA), to support Zambian brothers and sisters in the fight for national independence and development.  53 years ago, Zambia as one of the co – sponsors of Resolution 2758 adopted by the UN General Assembly,  helped China restore its lawful seat at the UN and resolutely defended the One-China Principle.  46 years ago, the first Chinese Medical Team traveled thousands of miles to arrive in Zambia. Since, then more than 1, 000 Chinese medical experts have come to work. Lately,  during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,  China donated vaccines and  anti-COVID supplies,” noted Mr. Wang.

In January, 2024, as the Cholera outbreak raged, the Chinese government and people acted quickly offering assistance.

In this respect, on 11th January, 2024, President Hichilema and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui jointly attended a Press Conference on China supporting Zambia in the fight against Cholera, announcing measures nine (9); official cash assistance,  on-site guidance from medical experts, constructing a clinic,  donating medical and daily supplies, donating water tanks, carrying out water supply project and cooperation in production of drugs and vaccines worth K20 million.

Making reference to the elephant in the room, after President Hichilema’s declaration of drought as national disaster and emergency in Zambia, Mr. Wang reiterated that the Chinese Embassy in Zambia proactively worked with the UN World Food Programme (UN-WFP) and China Geo Engineering Corporation Limited,  to carry out boreholes drilling projects in district severely affected by drought and donated mealie meal worth K130, 000 as humanitarian relief in communities, reaching more than 200 people.

“This is only the first step taken by the Chinese side and we are working to mobilize large-scale emergency humanitarian food assistance to help Zambia overcome the current difficulties,  as a demonstration of the all weather friendship between our two people, and a   case in point, we share together when it comes to meeting global challenges such as climate change and food crisis,” assured Mr. Wang.

On the economic front, since Zambia applied for debt restructuring under the G20 Common Framework in 2021, Mr. Wang  recollected that as the Co-Chair of the Official Committee of Creditors,  China has made every effort to coordinate all stakeholders to make  the deal.

“We note with great satisfaction that on Monday, 25th March, 2024, President Hichilema announced a deal with Eurobond holders,  another stepforward in the debt restructuring process, ” said Mr.  Wang.

Outlining a promising China-Zambia Cooperation, Mr. Wang says on Monday, 11th March,  2024, China’s Two Sessions; the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference were concluded painting a positive economic trajectory as ‘The Report on the Work of the Government set the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth target at around five percent (5%) as in 2023.

Even against the backdrop of an overall weak recovery of the global economy, China has maintained a solid growth momentum.

In 2023, China’s GDP surpassed 126 trillion RMB yuan, registering a 5.2 percent increase, making it one of the enviest fast growing major economy, thus contributing one-third of global growth.

China is credited with a record 30 percent increase in the new trio, namely; electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries and photovoltaic products.

Mr. Wang explained that during the recent Spring Festival holiday,  China recorded 474 million domestic tourists  and 2.293 billion cross-regional travels, with a total consumption of 632, 687 billion RMB yuan, an increase of 7.7% over the same period in 2019.

After a six-year lull, Mr. Wang says Chinese and African leaders will gather in Beijing for the 2024 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) this autumn.

As he concluded his brief, Mr. Wang let the cat out of a hat stating that the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China will send a senior delegation to visit Zambia soon, during which a Symposium facilitating in-depth exchange of views with Zambian political parties, think tanks and media houses will be convened.

On his part, Dr. Fredrick Mutesa, Secretary-General of the Zambia – China Friendship Association (ZCFA) said one is left in awe owing to impressive  technology highly competitive.

Dr. Mutesa says the significance of the relationship is guided by the significance of building a global community on shared values.

“I wish to recognize the values which are our strength in the vision of this government, aspirations of government what we are trying to decide how we can proceed forward from there exist a global community of shared future that is marked by inclusiveness, mutual benefit, equity and Justice to address the differences in social systems. It speaks to countries with different social systems identities cultures coming together in the promotion of interests shared,  through exchanges and mutual landing and five to make our world clean and beautiful by pursuing great principles,” said Mpuku.

Mr. Mark Simuuwe, Professional
Advisor to the SG and United  Party for National Development (UPND) Consultant described China as a beacon of hope with regard to economic transformation.

Alluding to the realm of infrastructure development, Mr. Simuuwe cited TAZARA, Kafue Lower Gorge hydropower plant and the Zambia National Service milling plants as exemplifying the tangible benefits of China – Zambia corporation.

“Construction of infrastructure has created employment opportunities for the local communities, fostering inclusive development,  enhancing Zambia’s  industrial capacity constructed under the China Aid Project has revotionalized the agricultural sector by boosting food security and promoting value addition and reducing the dependency on grain imports and stimulating rural economies through the skills transfer they and technology exchange initiatives,  with Chinese experts have over the year empowered the Zambian personnel fostering a culture of self-reliance and entrepreneurship,” noted Simuuwe.

Dr. Herrick Mpuku, Executive Director of Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) said Zambia has always been an oasis of peace.

Citing the 8th National Development Plan (8NDP) 2022 to 2026 and  Vision 2030, Dr. Mpuku said the two documents speak to improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the Zambisn economy to stiff the steering.

Dr. Mpuku says Zambia promotes peace and democracy and  peace and stability since this independence on Saturday 24th 1964 is enviable.

During the 2023 Summit for Democracy,  President Hichilema stated that Africa as a continent is determined to entrenching democratic governance in line with the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

“Zambia as a country has been an active player promoting peace on the African and has a consistent policy over conflicts in Africa, Europe and Asia and advocated for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine – Russia geopolitical war, restoration of the rights of Palestinian people and she agrees with the idea that African must have a seat in the Security Council and certainly bring the African perspective as a continent of 1.3 billion people,” prayed Dr. Mpuku.

Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) Executive Director  Mr. Sydney Mwamba grieved that affected 84 of the countries 116 districts, one million hectares of the 2.2 million hectares planted with maize as a staple crop face devastating consequences of drought, low water availability and energy supply risking her national food security.

“Zambia is expecting a power deficit of about 430 megawatts potentially reaching 520 megawatts by December 2024,” noted Mwamba.

Mwamba showered praise on the late Dr.  Kaunda and former  Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Vernon Johnson Mwaanga as permanent representative of Zambia to the United Nations participated in the historical process of their adoption of resolution 2758 at the 26th session of the United Nations General Assembly which recognized the representatives of the government of the People’s Republic of China as the only lawful representatives of China.

International Relations Association of Zambia (IRAZ) President Ms. Rosemary Nsepe  opened her contributing asking Symposium participants to stand and sing ‘Tiyende Pamodzi’ a unity song popularized by late Kaunda.

Ms. Nsepe is hsppy that China did not participate in the colonization of Africa but rather helped in the liberation of Africa.

Nsepe says China’s foreign policy is probably the most human policy built on two principles;  none interference into the internal affairs of other countries and mutual relationship.

University of Zambia (UNZA) Confucius Institute Director Professor David Mwanza did not hesitate acknowledging that
numerous Zambians have gone to China to pursue studies and have come back  equipped to save Zambia diligently, pointing out that medical teams have not just come to provide service but mentored local expertise with knowledge and experience transfer.

“”As one of my other colleagues hinted earlier there is no better friend and model in Zambia’s search for industrialization than China  as I  recall that from a record of  90% of the Chinese population living in poverty by 2018 China’s impoverishment had declined to a mere percentage,  additionally the countries growth in industrial production is admirable. We must aspire to emulate China and I challenge fellow Zambians and  Africans that instead of just getting support, we need to learn from the principles and values that have made China to develop and prosper. When I read some of the principles that guide China and of course say confusionism as a philosophy, you will  see honesty, integrity, empathy and service for others as values required among us Africans and as a Zambian, we need to learn those principles as it is not only money and resources that will help us to grow but values and character,” said Prof. Mwanza.

According to Prof. Mwanza, Chinese sacrifice built the TAZARA spearheaded by Tanzanian President Julius Kambarange Nyerere and former first Zambian President Kaunda, as China was at the time not a developed country.

“I am aware that the Chinese people who came to build some of them died in the process so this has been a friendship of sacrifice, a friendship of saving one another’s interest in order to be with a common future to build a common future,” noted Prof. Mwanza. – Rainbow Television Zambia Limited Rainbow Newspaper Limited Rainbow Newspaper Zambia Limited Rainbow Newspaper Zambia Limited Derrick Sinjela Anglican SINJELA

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