Government has acquired a US$30 million grant from China for the modernisation of the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in readiness for the 2022 African Union (AU) Heads of State summit.

And China has granted Zambia another US$30 million for the expansion of electricity supply in the Lusaka East Multi Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ), State House Spokesperson Amos Chanda has revealed.

Updating the nation on the ongoing tour of China by President Edgar Lungu live from Beijing yesterday, Chanda said President Lungu, who arrived in China last Friday, had managed to engage with the Chinese government on a number of agreements.

“A number of events, meetings and decisions have taken place, and today and yesterday, the main summit of the [Forum on China Africa Corporation summit] FOCAC got underway and the closing ceremony will take place today [Tuesday]. But quite significantly, one of the most important highlights for Zambia is the bilateral meetings that took place between President Lungu and Xi Jiping, the President of China. A number of economic cooperation agreements were discussed, issues of cultural and political exchange were discussed and President Xi announced himself that Zambia was going to be given $30 million for the expansion of electricity supply in the Multi-Facility Economic Zone, Lusaka East, the one which is near the [KKIA] airport. This agreement covers the expansion of electricity supply in the Multi-Facility Economic Zone and other projects. The entire amount is not for the Multi-Facility Economic Zone [alone], but the grant is available to the Zambian government in any other economic cooperation agreements,” Chanda explained.

Chanda added that the Chinese President Xi Jining pledged another $30 million towards to the modernisation of the Mulungushi International Conference Centre.

“President Xi Jiping also announced that a grant was going to be made available through technical cooperation to Zambia for the reconstruction of Mulungushi International Conference Centre into an ultra-modern conference that must host the 2022 African Union Summit of Heads of State. I can emphasise here that, the agreements signed are agreements on economic and technical cooperation to Zambia; this is the provisions of the money I talked about, the $30 million to provide for electricity supply in the Multi-Facility Economic Zone, Lusaka East. The latter for extension of validity for economic and technical cooperation. This agreement as well is worth $30 million to extend the 2012 agreement in order to provide interest-free loans. I must emphasise that, we do have a grant of $30 million for the electricity supply in the Multi-Facility Economic Zone, then we do have another $30 million interest-free loan, which is covered under the agreement to extend the economic cooperation,” Chanda said.

He disclosed that the Zambian government further signed various MoUs with Chinese firms in various sectors to enhance economic cooperation between Zambia and China.

“Then there was another MoU on the belt and road initiative, which is to provide for the cooperation between the two countries under the belt and road initiative; a signature visionary initiative by President Xi Jiping. The Minister of National Planning, Honourable Alexander Chiteme, signed that one, and Honourable Margaret Mwanakatwe, who is Minister of Finance, signed the other two that I talked about, and Honourable Christopher Yaluma signed an agreement to establish an industrial park that provides for training in mining operations. So, this is a Chinese parastatal company, CMC and the Ministry of Commerce. An MoU between CMC and the Ministry of Commerce to provide for an industrial park and technical training in the mining industry,” said Chanda.

“An MoU between a company called Protea Infrastructure was also signed with the Ministry of Commerce, and another MoU was signed to invest in the mineral processing plant in Zambia, this is the company that owns Nkana Aloe, the owners of the Black Mountain. They have signed an agreement to invest in an ultra-modern mineral processing plant in Zambia. Government has again signed another agreement with Huawei to cooperate on the expansion and development of ICTs. The President tomorrow (Wednesday) travels to Guanxi Province where he’s going to witness another remarkable development: the twining of the two provinces Muchinga and Guanxi Province,” said Chanda.