Zambian President Edgar Lungu inaugurates the Jiangxi Multi-Facility Economic Zone in Chibombo district, Zambia, Nov. 21, 2018. (Xinhua)
A consortium of Chinese firms will construct a Multi-Facility Economic Zone in central Zambia's Chibombo district, with President Edgar Lungu saying the project will go a long way in helping the country in its endeavor to ensure value addition to local products.
The ground breaking ceremony of the Jiangxi Multi Facility Economic Zone was held in Chibombo district on Wednesday. It will cover 600 hectares of land, with an initial investment of 300 million U.S. dollars in the first phase which will create more than 5,000 jobs.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony, the Zambian leader said the project by a consortium of Chines companies -- the Jiangxi United Industrial Development Limited, marked another symbol of the strong relationship between the two countries which dates to pre-independence period.
The Zambian leader said the project was one of the fruits from his recent visit to China where he attended the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing in September.
Zambia, he said, has already started benefiting from the 60 billion U.S. dollars in funding support pledged by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit to serve China-Africa cooperative projects, as evidenced by the industrial park project.
According to him, the Economic Zone was also a culmination of a business forum the Zambia delegation attended in east China's Jiangxi Province on the sidelines of the FOCAC summit.
"It is indeed a great mark of achievement to see that it's not long ago that we visited China, but we are already witnessing the fruits of our visit. This is an indication of the importance that People's Republic of China attaches to the bilateral cooperation with Zambia," he said.
The Zambian leader further reaffirmed his government's commitment to create a conducive business environment for their operations and commended the provincial administration in Jiangxi Province to ensure the actualization of the Economic Zone.
He further said his government will continue to encourage the development of multi-facility economic zones, industrial parks and farm blocks in order to foster industrialization and value addition.
Li Jie, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, said the economic and trade cooperation zone plays an important role in pushing forward the Belt and Road Initiative and industrial capacity cooperation between China and Zambia.
"We believe that the project will fully take the location advantages of Central Province to promote the agriculture, manufacturing and food processing industries, which will contribute to local economic development and regional industrial upgrading," he said.
Xu Guojian, a representative of all shareholders, said the project was the fulfillment of one of the eight major initiatives proposed by the Chinese president at the 2018 FOCAC Beijing summit where Chinese firms were encouraged to expand their investment in Africa by establishing and upgrading a number of economic and trade cooperation zones.