President Michael Sata, a fierce critic of Chinese investment in Zambia for 10 years, has now u-turned and called on Chinese investors to help Zambia re-establish a national airline.
Speaking during a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Le Kequiang at the People’s Hall in Beijing, President Sata commended China for its contribution to Zambia’s development.
“I have come here to thank China for helping Zambia to develop. The Chinese have done tremendous things in Zambia,” Mr Sata said.
“Apart from building Tazara (Tanzania Zambia Railway), the Chinese are also doing many other great things. I would, therefore, like you to come and help us to re-establish Zambia Airways,” he said.
He urged Chinese investors to come to Zambia and explore other investment opportunities, including fisheries.
Earlier, President Sata thanked China for helping Zambia to open a route to the sea through the construction of Tazara.
“When Zambia was properly landlocked, China opened us to the sea through Tazara and since then, China has been very helpful,” the President said during a meeting with the chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Yu Zhengsheng.
He noted that Zambia and China have a lot in common, such as unemployment and that they could work jointly towards reducing it.
The President also commended Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Zhou Yuxiao for not interfering with Zambia’s internal affairs.
“You have a very intelligent ambassador in Zambia who does not interfere in our internal affairs,” he said.
The President was accompanied by Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda, Foreign Affairs Minister Effron Lungu, Commerce minister Emmanuel Chenda and Communications minister Christopher Yaluma.
Others are Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Yamfwa Mukanga, Tourism and Arts Deputy Minister David Phiri, Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska and other Government officials.