China-Zambia business forum good for economy
Published On May 22, 2024 » 1576 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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THE just-held China-Zambia High Quality Business Forum lived up to the spectacle the two countries’ business communities expected.
The two-day business forum held at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) is a platform for the Governments as well as the Zambian and Chinese business communities to discuss potential partnerships in various sectors of the country’s economy.
More than 200 Chinese companies and a significant number of Zambian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Government institutions and various large business entities among others attended the forum.
The China-Zambia High Quality Business Forum also hosted an array of business activities including eight parallel sessions in areas such as green and clean energy, green mining and green water saving.
It also accommodated sessions on China- Zambia infrastructure development, internationalisation of the Renminbi (RMB), promotion of the growth of SMEs as well as the revitalisation of the TAZARA.
The parallel sessions were chaired by respective ministers from Commerce, Trade and Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Energy, Transport and Logistics as well as the minister of Green Economy and Environment.
The forum was further meticulously planned to include exhibitions of various local and Chinese business firms as well as Government agencies and business sector regulators’ mandates.
For instance, Dongguan Zwayn New Energy Corporation was exhibiting lithium-ion storage batteries for both commercial and household use.

• PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema who officially graced the event witnessed the signing of 21
Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) valued at US$1 billion.

The corporation’s East Africa business representative Hancock Chen says attending the business forum gave the firm clear insight into the Zambian market.
Mr Chen says there is a lot of potential in the Zambian market and that in the future there is a huge possibility of the firm setting up a manufacturing plant for lithium-ion storage batteries.
“We understand that Zambia has been hit by the worst drought in several decades, we also know that energy problems cannot be resolved in one day. Therefore, by leveraging our technology we will by the end of June begin supplying storage batteries to help cover the power deficit thereby allowing manufacturers to operate normally,” he says.
Other exhibitions were from the Zambia Electric Mobility Innovations Alliance (ZEMIA) who showcased and explained the way around Electric Vehicle (EVs) charging systems to increase awareness on their efficiency.
ZEMIA president Kabayo Muhau says according to a study recently undertaken the uptake of full EVs in the country is still low with only 118 full EV cars out of a population of over 800,000 cars as at January this year.
Mr Muhau says the forum made available a platform for the association to create awareness of the various strides it is making in the EV sector as well as highlight the benefits of EVs for SMEs.
“We are currently conducting a study to understand the barriers that hinder the electrification of public transport in the country and find ways around them. Once the study is successfully complete we will also know which points exactly charging hubs should be installed and the project would begin,” he says.
Mr Muhau states that the study as well as the project is being funded by the Drive Electric Campaign (DEC) and that the funds are being disbursed by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Another Chinese firm Di Can Guardrail was exhibiting zinc-steel guardrails, aluminum alloy guardrails and iron gates.
It official was optimistic that the entity will soon enter the lucrative Zambian markets.
The exhibitor only identified as Kim says the firm may decide to open an office or even a factory in the coming months.
“There is interest to open an office in Zambia, there are many people showing interest in our products and in the long run we can open a factory,” he says.
Furthermore, Sunshine International Tourism Culture Corporation business manager Peggy Cheng views the forum as an opportunity to encourage more Chinese tourists into Zambia and vice-versa.
Ms Cheng says she is leveraging the forum to explain the various tourism cities in Zambia to Chinese exhibitors while highlighting the various cites Zambians can visit in China for tourism purposes.
Other exhibitors included the ministry of SMEs, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency (ZCSA), Mupika Sericulture and Silk Limited and the Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) among others.
President Hakainde Hichilema who officially graced the event witnessed the signing of 21 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) valued at US$1 billion.
President Hichilema says such fora should deliver results to assist the Government expand the economy adding that his vision is to double the size of the country’s economy by the time he leaves the office.
“It is expected that such forums should deliver results to assist the Government on its economic expansion journey,” he says.
Chinese Embassy’s economic and commercial counselor Liu Guoyu explains that the 21 MoUs were on practical cooperation to the tune of $1.03 billion, an investment to be channeled towards key economic areas.
Mr Liu says the cooperation in the energy sector will account for $683 million while the mining sector will receive $290 million, with a further $58 million going towards infrastructure and agriculture sectors.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Chipoka Mulenga says that it is expected that the forum will enhance economic and trade relations between Zambia and China.
Mr Mulenga says that the forum is also expected to promote practical cooperation and achieve high quality development for both countries.
Business fora such as the China-Zambia High Quality Business Forums are instrumental in facilitating partnerships and implementations of joint ventures between Zambian SMEs and Chinese firms.
Therefore, the successful hosting of this forum is a huge step towards setting the grounds for enhanced Zambia-China economic cooperation, skills transfer, technological transfer and economic growth.
SOME traders in Pemba District, Southern Province have backed calls by the Government to reinforce the ban on the sale of illegal alcoholic beverages at markets.
The traders are traumatised following some recorded deaths in the area after the alleged consumption of a locally-brewed illicit concoction.
They want reinforcement and vigorous inspections in markets, liquor and grocery stalls and bars within the district by the local authority.
In Pemba district, the illicit beer is commonly known as ‘chijabi’ brewed mostly in homes, in some cases and ‘secretly’ in markets and grocery shops.
The concoctions of chijabi beer include the use of the methylated spirit, glue, sweeteners and some other unknown materials.
The illegal alcoholic beverage has destroyed lives and has a negative effect on youths.
The symptoms of victims include severe headache and blindness eventually causing death within a short period of time.
The victims also present foaming in the mouth.
Clara Mweemba, a tomato seller at Pemba Market has welcomed the move by the Pemba Town Council to ban the sale of chijabi beer which she says has continued causing the death of people in the district.
Ms Mweemba says those involved in making and selling the deadly beer should stop immediately and find other businesses to do.
“There are so many businesses that one can do as opposed to justifying that it is a source of livelihood when lives are being lost,” she says.
She says it is sad that people have continued losing their lives because of beer.
Another trader, Classwell Munachonga, has urged the local authority to intensify sensitisation meetings in the community on the dangers of chijabi beer.
“The council should also conduct inspections in all the liquor stores and bars within the district to check what kind of beers they are selling. People need to know all the information about chijabi beer,” he says.
He appealed to the traders and people in the community to report anyone selling chijabi beer to the police.
Pemba Town Council has banned the sale of the brew after the district recorded 11 deaths as a result of its consumption.
Council Secretary Samuel Chilombo explains that the local authority has banned the sale of chijabi beer in the district and any other unauthorised alcohol as provided for under the Liquor Licensing Act of 2011 and Public Health Act of 2019.
Mr Chilombo says the general public should come on board and report any person making such concoctions and selling it.
“It is unfortunate that the same beer has left five people hospitalised and receiving treatment at Kasiya Mission Hospital. The sale of this alcohol should be stopped and we want to encourage members of the general public to adhere to the ban,” he says.
Mr Chilombo says currently the council through the public health inspectorate in conjunction with Zambia Police and district health office are carrying out investigations and that samples have since been collected.
The relevant authorities have intensified inspections within the district pursuant to the laws.
“The regulations clearly prohibit the manufacturing of intoxicating alcohol by means of concoctions. The Liquor Licensing Act is a punitive piece of legislation and whoever is found wanting upon first conviction, will be liable to a penalty not exceeding K60,000 or imprisonment for a period of one year or both,” he says.
Mr Chilombo assures that the local authority will continue conducting routine inspections and sensitisation within the district to ensure there is compliance from members of the general public.
He urges the traditional leadership, area councillors and Ward Development Committees (WDC) officials to help disseminate the information on the ban of selling chijabi beer and also help bring the culprits to book.
There have been reports of fatalities of people who reportedly consumed the lethal concoction allegedly brewed using a combination of methylated spirit, shoe polish, sugar and other unknown substances in Southern and Western Provinces.
Local Government and Rural Development ministry Permanent Secretary Mambo Hamaundu directed that all illegal liquor stores trading as grocery shops in communities be shut down and that all legal liquor store traders operate within the required time.

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