Zambian President Edgar Lungu (R, front) attends the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kafulafuta water supply system project in the Copperbelt Province, Zambia, on Sept. 21, 2018. (Xinhua/Wang Yaomin)
Zambia has launched a massive water project aimed at improving access to clean and safe drinking water to some towns in the Copperbelt Province.
The Kafulafuta water supply system project involves the construction of a dam and other infrastructures for the supply of water to some districts in the province.
It also includes the construction of two pump stations, raw water pipelines to four treatment plants as well as the extension of the pipe network to un-serviced areas and repairing of old leaking pipes.
The multi-purpose dam will hold about 125 million cubic meters of water to benefit about 1 million people.
It will be undertaken by China National Complete Engineering Corporation.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, said the launch of the project demonstrates government's desire to increase access to clean water and sanitation in line with the country's Vision 2030.
He further said the project also demonstrates government's commitment to provide universal access to safe and clean drinking water to all people by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Water, he said, was vital for the socio-economic development of the country, hence his government's commitment to come up with various interventions to improve water supply.
The Zambian leader said it was painful to see women and girls walking long distances in search of water, adding that the launch of the project will ease the problem of access to water in the affected districts.
Lungu said the project, which will cost 449 million U.S. dollars, will not only increase access to clean water and sanitation but will also create jobs for local people.
About 6,000 jobs will be created during the construction stage of the project, he added.
The Zambian leader thanked China for supporting the project, adding that China has proved to be an all-weather partner in Zambia's development.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Jie congratulated Zambia for the project, saying water was vital to the socio-economic development of any country.
The Chinese envoy said many Chinese enterprises were implementing a number of livelihood and infrastructure projects in Zambia and thanked the government for the strong and continuous support to the projects and investments implemented by Chinese firms.
According to him, the two countries enjoy a time-honored history of cooperation in the area of public health and hygiene.
"The construction and operation of these livelihood projects will help Zambia alleviate the challenge of insufficient public facilities, elevate the level of Zambia public health services and provide a strong guarantee for the socio-economic development of Zambia," he said.
He said the relation between two countries has blossomed over the years and hoped that the relation will take another level following the holding of the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing summit.