China has pledged more than US$ 1.5 billion investment to Zambia in different sectors of the economy following President Edgar Lungu’s State visit last week.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs minister Harry Kalaba has warned Forum for Democracy and Development president Edith Nawakwi and her Alliance for Democracy and Development counterpart Charles Milupi against commenting on matters they hardly understand.
Speaking at a press briefing held in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Kalaba said President Lungu’s State visit to China will provide tangible benefits to the people of Zambia and enable the Government deliver on its development.
“Milupi and Nakwakwi should stop talking about matters that they have little understanding of. Every trip that the President has undertaken is strategic and targets at bringing development to the country. The fact that China chose to invest in Zambia instead of any other country should make us proud,” he said.
And special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said he was baffled that the two opposition leaders would trivialize the President’s State visit to China.
“No talk will hinder the President from taking trips that will bring economic progress to the country. Many world leaders are queuing up to see the President of China but our President who has been in office for just three months was accorded a chance- that should speak volume,” he said
Mr Kalaba said the President signed a grant agreement on economic and technical cooperation amounting to RMB 400 million (about US$66 million).
“This grant will go to the extensive expansion of the Levy Mwanawasa Hospital to provide the needed healthcare, provide vehicles for the Zambia Police Service and to conduct a feasibility study for youth and vocational training cooperation which includes the project of setting up of solar powered milling plants,” he said.
Mr Kalaba said the President signed the framework agreement and also the US$67 million financing agreement (GRZ and EXIM bank of China), both on the provision of a concessional loan.
“The funds will be utilised for the national ICT development project (Smart Zambia phase 1) and will establish a unified communication platform, a data centre and ICT training through the Ministry of Transport, Works and Supply and Communication,” he said.
He said the agreement was signed on exchange of notes for a grant on technical cooperation for the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
“”The grant will be used to provide technical assistance on the appropriate use and maintenance of the stadium in Ndola over two years at a cost of US$1.32 million),” he said.
Mr Kalaba revealed that some of the areas of co-operation agreed upon include the revamping of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, expansion of Maize milling capacity, promotion and development of use of renewable energy sources.
He said the results of this investment would begin to show off in the next few weeks especially the construction of maize milling plants.