President Edgar Lungu says China is a true friend of Africa because it does not come with any hidden agenda.

President Lungu was speaking at State House yesterday when he welcomed a delegation from Haujian Group of China, a firm wishing to invest in Zambia’s civil aviation, manufacturing and mineral processing development sectors.

“In welcoming you, I would like to remind you that China has been an all weather friend and even as we engage in development, we should be weary of that. We want a situation where Chinese investors are happy when they come to invest in Zambia and Zambians are also happy. We say so because some people come to Zambia with hidden agendas. But we are happy that China comes to Zambia as a true friend of Africa,” President Lungu said.

“So as you talk to our ministers, just bear in mind that you are talking to us as friends. We know you are one big company in China but we have dealt with both small and big companies in China and we know that the Chinese are the same. The latest phrase in Zambia is dialogue…dialogue so we want to dialogue with you because when you dialogue, you allow your friends to talk as well.”

And in acknowledging the President’s confidence in his firm, Haujian Group of China Board Chairman Zhang Huarong, who spoke through an interpreter Su Fang, said he was humbled to have been given an opportunity in Zambia.

“We are happy to be in Zambia and for the opportunity given to us. I have never been to Zambia until now. Zambia is a beautiful country with a lot of infrastructure. I am extremely grateful visit and thank you very much for the invitation,” said Huarong.

Meanwhile, updating the media after a 45-minute closed door meeting with the investor, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chance revealed that the company had expressed interest in the said sectors owing to this country’s liberal and open market environment to support any kind of business.

“He has told the President that he has vast interest in the areas of civil aviation, manufacturing, mineral processing development, transportation and agriculture. And he has assured the President and committed that he will be coming back to Zambia in May with a team of his lawyers to come and consumate all the bilateral between him and company areas, government partners and companies that he has met to come and consumate those agreements between different sectors and that company,” Chanda said.

“The President has encouraged him and offered him full support, specifically to him and generally the Chinese investment community that Zambia remains an open market for business, with stable political environment and a guarantee of a liberal and open market environment to support the kind of business he’s suggesting.”

Chanda further disclosed that the investor’s investment would culminate into the creation of an express link of transportation from Lubumbashi to Lusaka to Harare in order to enhance trade.

“One of the major items he has outlined in his project profile is an express link of transportation from Lubumbashi, Lusaka to Harare to facilitate the expected boom in the copper mining industries both in Zambia and the DRC. Jobs that will be created in the project he has proposed across all these sectors, runs in tens of thousands of jobs. The President has given clear direction on how these projects will be scheduled,” Chanda said.

“Those that can be executed in short term, the Permanent Secretaries Ministry of Trade will look into that so that by the time they come in May, some of those projects would begin to work. The President is encouraged that the pledge is a multi million dollar investment is an affirmation of a stable political and economic environment that exist in Zambia.”

Meanwhile, Chanda clarified that the new President of Botswana had been invited to grace the international trade fare and not the Agricultural show as earlier reported.

“I also want to clarify another matter. His Excellency the President has extended an invitation to the new President Masisi of Botswana to come and grace the Zambia international Trade Fare and not the Zambia Agriculture and Commercial show as was reported earlier. I can confirm here that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has through the normal diplomatic channels sent the necessary invitations and formalities and the President of Botswana will be coming to grace the Trade Fare. Another Head of State will be invited for the Agricultural show,” said Chanda.