President Hakainde Hichilema commissioned the Chibombo Jiangxi Economic Cooperation Zone on Thursday, and attended the Zambia-China Jiangxi Investment and Trade Cooperation Promotion Conference in Chibombo District, Central Province.
The conference, which comes just one month after Hichilema’s successful state visit to China, is part of the two countries’ efforts to consolidate the sister relationship between Zambia’s Central Province and Jiangxi Province.
“We lauded Jiangxi United for their efforts in attracting a range of companies to this facility including medical equipment manufacturers, steel processing plant, electrical insulator factory and many more,” Hichilema said in a statement.
Hichilema also encouraged local businesses to take part in the opportunities in the facility, noting that the government has many initiatives for citizens’ access to credit facilities as well as incentives such as tax holidays for local investors.
“Your government is committed to promoting special economic zones and industrial parks to leverage on the centrality of Zambia’s location to accelerate our industrial development and achieve our goal of becoming the regional manufacturing and processing powerhouse,” he said.
Hichilema also emphasized the longstanding relationship between Zambia and China, calling it an “all-weather relationship forged over decades.”
“Today we celebrated the TAZARA spirit that underscores the bilateral relations between our two countries,” he said.
The TAZARA Railway is a 1,860-kilometer railway line that connects the Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam. It was built by China and Zambia in the 1970s and is a symbol of the two countries’ close ties.
The Chibombo Jiangxi Economic Cooperation Zone is a 10,000-hectare industrial park that is expected to attract billions of dollars in investment and create thousands of jobs. It is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is a global infrastructure development program.
The conference was attended by business leaders from China and Zambia, as well as government officials from both countries.