Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema recently visited Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the meeting, President Xi expressed China’s support for Zambia’s national sovereignty, security, and development interests. The two countries decided to upgrade their relationship to a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership,” with a focus on expanding cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, mining, and clean energy.
One key topic of discussion was Zambia’s external debt and its desire to restructure it with the help of China. In addition, Zambia is seeking more trade opportunities with China, as it is the world’s second-largest economy. President Hichilema expressed gratitude to China for its support of the African Union’s accession to the Group of 20 major economies and its role in resolving Zambia’s debt problem.
China has significant economic interests in Zambia, having invested in over 30 projects between 2014 and 2023 through its Belt and Road Initiative. These projects, worth a total of $11.3 billion, cover sectors such as energy, agriculture, and aviation. Furthermore, China is an important export market for Zambia, particularly for copper.
President Hichilema emphasized Zambia’s commitment to the one-China principle and expressed a desire to learn from China’s development experience. President Xi, on the other hand, affirmed China’s support for the entry of more high-quality Zambian products into the Chinese market and encouraged Chinese-funded enterprises to invest in Zambia.
The details of any debt agreements between China and Zambia have not been disclosed at this time. President Hichilema’s visit to China will continue until Saturday.
[Reporting by Ethan Wang, Liz Lee, Joe Cash, and Bernard Orr; editing by Jacqueline Wong, Tom Hogue, and Mark Heinrich]