Asia > Eastern Asia > China > Chinese-supported infrastructure projects change Zambia's landscape

China: Chinese-supported infrastructure projects change Zambia's landscape

2017/09/05

The commissioning of works to construct a new international airport in Zambia's Ndola city in the Copperbelt Province recently goes to exemplify Chinese efforts to help Zambia's infrastructure development drive.

The 397 million U.S. dollars project, being undertaken by Chinese contractor AVIC International and funded by the Export and Import Bank of China, is but one part other projects China has funded as Zambia rolls out its infrastructure projects.

The new airport will not only boost the economic prospect of the province but as well add to the development in the country's infrastructure landscape.

The project, to be completed within three years, involves a 12,000 square meter modern terminal building, a 3.5 kilometer runway, cargo terminal inclunding a hotel.

"I am sure that the new airport will significantly improve traffic connections of the Copperbelt both within Zambia and with Zambia's neighboring nations, thus promote additional trade exchanges, attract additional foreign investment , and increase flow of goods and personnel," Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming said in remarks delivered during the launch of construction works in June this year.

His comments have been supported by Zambian President Edgar Lungu who feels that the project will result in the creation of jobs in the province and boost the economic prospect of not only the province but all country as a whole.

According to him, around 3,000 jobs will be created during the project's construction, and 5,000 jobs are expected to be created once the project is completed.

The Zambian leader noted that his government has prioritized infrastructure development because no development could take place without good infrastructure.

"Government has prioritized transport and communication because it is critical for development. For us to diversify the economy, we must construct infrastructure necessary for the level of develop we envision," he said.

Infrastructure development has been at the core of Zambia's development schedule since 2011 at the same time as the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power next winning the elections, and there is no doubt that the Chinese government and enterprises have been playing an significant role in driving the schedule.

In an extra case, the expansion project at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in the country's capital is underway with funding support from China. The project is expected to be completed by 2019.

According to Mweembe Sikaulu, spokesperson of the Zambia Airports Corporation, the country's biggest airport would have a new international terminal, air traffic control tower, rescue and fire services inclunding two hotels within the airport.

The 360 million dollars Chinese-funded project will result in an development in passenger-handling capacity from the current two million to six million passengers.

PIVOTAL CHINESE ROLE IN ZAMBIA'S INFRASTRUCTURE

From the Mongu-Kalabo Road, a 34 kilometer road with 26 bridges across it and constructed by China's Avic International in the western part of the country to the development of other infrastructure such as hydropower projects and modernization of airports, it is clear that China and Chinese enterprises have played a pivotal role in improving Zambia's infrastructure landscape.

China's imprint in Zambia's infrastructure development stretches back to the historical construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railway, which was constructed in the 1970s and the Tuta Bridge in northern Zambia, which is still the longest Chinese-aided bridge of its kind in Africa.

China has as well helped Zambia have ultra-modern stadiums through the financing and construction of the 50,000 capacity National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, the country's capital and the 49,800 capacity Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola city on the Copperbelt Province.

"We are indeed grateful to China for the wonderful work they are doing to help us in our infrastructure projects. For instance, we did not dream that we will ever have a large stadium like Heroes but thanks to China, they helped us have one," Ben Zulu, a 46-year-old resident of Lusaka, the country's capital said.

He added that there is no doubt that Chinese contractors were doing a good job each time they are given construction jobs in the country.

His views were supported by an extra Lusaka resident Isaac Ngenda, who hailed the hardworking culture of the Chinese contractors.

According to him, Chinese contractors are dedicated to their work and have been able to complete projects on time.

Michael Nyirenda, immediate completed president of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors as well hailed China's contribution to Zambia's infrastructure development.

"It is right to say that China and Chinese contractors have done a lot in helping Zambia's infrastructure development schedule. This is there for all to see," he said.

While appreciating the gesture from China, he noted that the authorities should ensure as well that local contractors are capacitated as well so that they learn from their Chinese counterparts.

Harry Kalaba, Zambia's Foreign Affairs Minister said the southern African country will remain indebted to China's assistance in economic development projects over the years and looks forward to additional assistance.

The Zambian minister said recently that his government has come up with priority projects for financing under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Part the priority projects include infrastructure development, broadband communication network, construction and rehabilitation of the existing railway network inclunding investments in alternative energy sources such as wind, bio-mass, thermal, geo-thermal and solar.

Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming has expressed that his government is ready to do additional to help Zambia develop its infrastructure.

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