LUSAKA -- China launched an economic and tradecooperation zone in the Zambian
capital of Lusaka on Sunday, the first of its kind established ever by the
country in Africa.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Zambian counterpart, Levy Patrick
Mwanawasa, jointly inaugurated the Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation
The zone's establishment is part of China's efforts to fulfill its earlier
promises to boost its full-fledged cooperation with African nations.
At the Beijing Summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last
November, Hu announced eight measures to strengthen China-Africa cooperation,
including the establishment of three to five trade and economic cooperation
zones in Africa in the next three years.
"The aim of my African tour is to consolidate the traditional friendship
between China and Africa, implement the results achieved at the Beijing summit
of FOCAC, expand pragmatic cooperation and seek common development," Hu said at
the inauguration ceremony.
The Chinese government encourages and supports competent Chinese enterprises
to invest in the zone and make contribution to Zambia's economic development and
social progress, Hu said.
Mwanawasa pledged to further improve the investment environment and hoped
that more Chinese and foreign enterprises will settle in the zone, bringing
along with them know how and expertise necessary for the development of the zone
and Zambia at large.
The zone, located in Zambia's Copper Belt Province, is aimed at forming a
production chain with Chambisi Copper Smelter as the core enterprise.
The construction of the zone is expected to boost the development of Zambia's
light industry and the sectors of construction materials, home electrical
appliance, pharmacy and food processing, increase the country's exports and
create job opportunities for locals.
Hu arrived in Zambia on Saturday on a three-day state visit. Zambia is the
fourth leg of Hu's eight-nation African tour, which has taken him to Cameroon,
Liberia and Sudan. Hu will also travel to Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and