THE Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone has attracted 17 companies and a total investment of nearly U$1 billion since inception five years ago, according to Zambia Development Agency.
ZDA says resident companies of the economic zone situated in Chambishi on the Copperbelt have generated nearly US $500 million in taxes and sales revenues of US $4.35 billion.
This is according to officials during a ceremony on Feb 3 in Beijing to mark the zone’s fifth anniversary.
Founded by China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co Ltd (CNMC), the zone is “another milestone in ties between the two countries following the TAZARA Railway” built by China 40 years ago to link Zambia with Tanzania, said China’s vice-foreign minister Zhai Jun.
The zone is the country’s first multipurpose economic zone and China’s first business cooperation area in Africa.
The two industrial parks in the zone have different functions to meet varied demands.
Its 11.58-square-kilometre Chambishi Park serves a copper mine of the same name and its major industries included metal processing and related services.
Lusaka Park, which covers 5.7 square-kilometre with Kenneth Kaunda International Airport nearby, is focused on trading, logistics and real estate.
The zone’s developer CNMC started business in Zambia in 1998 and is now the largest Chinese investor in the nation.
It has nine companies in the country whose combined investment now exceeds US$2 billion. The operations have created more than 12,500 local jobs.
Luo Tao, CNMC general manager, said the cooperation zone was the best symbol of the “all-weather friendship” between China and Zambia.
“Building economic cooperation zones overseas was a brand new attempt and also a systematic project,” Luo was quoted in the ZDA monthly newsletter. “The zone had a good start, but we still have a long way ahead of us.”
The zone’s development model emphasises energy conservation and eco-friendliness using technologies developed by leading Chinese universities.
Resource losses at the copper mine have been greatly reduced, while the smelting cost is about 30 per cent lower than other local companies.
CNMC is one of the earliest Chinese companies in the nonferrous metals industry to adopt a “go-abroad” policy, and one of the most successful.
It has business in more than 30 countries around the world including the United Kingdom, Australia and Africa./POST ZAMBIA