Chinese SOE strives for win-win investment partnerships with Africa

Updated: September 6, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- In the ground control room of a copper mine in Zambia's Copperbelt Province, technicians from Zambia and China are busy remotely maneuvering the unmanned underground mining machinery.

The mine is operated by the South East Ore Body, a project undertaken by the NFC Africa Mining PLC (NFCA) in Zambia. Founded in 1998, the NFCA is a joint venture between China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co., Ltd. (CNMC), a centrally-administered state-owned enterprise (SOE), and a local Zambian company.

An investment from the Chinese side has injected a new lease of life into the mine, which was closed years ago.

With the digital transformation of mining at the heart of the company's development plan, NFCA is making every effort to build the first digital mine in Africa by introducing smart equipment and management system. After reaching the relevant standards and production goals, it will serve as a vital boost for Zambia in accelerating the development of the country's mining industry.

Besides NFCA, an economic and trade cooperation zone operated by CNMC has attracted dozens of enterprises to settle in, creating more than 10,000 local job opportunities.

Based on the economic and social development needs of African countries, Chinese SOEs have also provided vocational education and technical training support to address talent shortages, a perennial challenge in the development of the continent.

Over the years, the two sides have collaborated through a variety of initiatives to build vocational institutions and offer technical training opportunities, cultivating local technicians and skilled workers.

In Zambia's Luanshya District, for instance, a Chinese-funded vocational training college has enabled young Zambians to acquire practical skills and experiences.

Over 300 students have studied degree courses while more than 1,500 workers have undergone vocational training in this college that was jointly established by the CNMC and several Chinese higher vocational colleges in 2019.

"I knew nothing about machines before entering the college, but now I can operate drilling machines and lathe machines, among other types of equipment," said Jonathan Malisawa, a student majoring in maintenance and management of electrical and mechanical equipment.

Malisawa said he is hopeful of securing a job to support his family after completing the three-year diploma program.

The CNMC is among the Chinese SOEs that have expanded their footprints in Africa amid deepened China-Africa cooperation in various fields. Despite the pandemic woes, economic and trade cooperation between the two sides has steadily advanced in recent years, and China has remained Africa's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years.

Over the past decade, China has helped create 18,562 jobs annually on average in Africa with yearly increases, according to a report by Swiss-African Business Circle released earlier this year.

It is hoped that CNMC's experience will offer impetus to more Chinese enterprises and higher vocational colleges in their "going-global" objectives so that more overseas students can better understand China, acquire vocational skills and bring more benefits to local people, the company said.

Editor: Li Shimeng