The Central Province is one of the most mineral-endowed provinces of Zambia. But due to various reforms that took place in the early 1990s, it had lost its socio-economic fortunes.
This has however begun to change. Thanks to the Zambia-China partnership, it has triggered growth in various sectors.
In an interview, Central Province Minister, Sydney Mushanga said among many developments that have changed the face of Central Province are the twinning of the Central Province of Zambia to the Jiangxi Province of China.
He disclosed that the Central Province and Jiangxi Province were scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen their joint cooperation.
He said the signing of the MOU was supposed to have taken place in China in the first quarter of 2020, but could not take place due to the outbreak of COVID-19. He however stressed that the two provinces were still collaborating despite the MOU not being signed yet.
He said that this has scaled up the two provinces’ cooperation in various sectors. He pointed out that this partnership had brought about many benefits such as the bringing of a pool of Chinese companies that were constructing a Multi-facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) in Chibombo, a town in the Central Province of Zambia.
He said Jiangxi’s state-owned enterprises made a joint investment platform for their investments in Zambia which would attract investments from both Zambia and China.
Central Province permanent secretary, Bernard Chomba also acknowledged the contribution that the Zambia-China friendship has made to the revival of the lost fortunes in the province. He cited the mining sector as one area that has greatly benefited. He disclosed that investments in the processing of manganese was one area that had benefited.
According to him, the province had huge deposits of manganese, but the resource remained untapped due to the lack of a ready market and processing plants.
He was therefore grateful that two Chinese companies had set up manganese processing plants in two strategic towns in the province.
In his view, the setting up of these plants has helped to add value to manganese mining.
Chomba pointed out that the manganese processing plants were adding value to the mining sector and thereby contributing significantly to the national wealth.
The permanent secretary also named a textile company, the Zambia-China Mulungushi Textiles Joint Venture Limited in Kabwe, the headquarters of the province as another milestone achievement. He said that the textile company was revamped out of the collaboration between the two countries and was poised to create jobs and revamp the once-abandoned industry.
He revealed that the Chinese had invested heavily in installing modern equipment which to him was commendable.
He said the company would provide a market for over 3,000 cotton farmers and as such was a potential market for the agriculture sector. Enditem