Zambia and China will hold their first-ever trade and investment forum today, aimed at tapping potential between the two countries.
China, which Zambia considers a strategic investment partner, has 600 enterprises currently operating in the African nation with a total investment of $3 billion. Zambia will use the trade and investment forum to help advertise its investment policies and has so far attracted approximately 200 Chinese enterprises to participate in the forum.
The two nations are expected to sign memoranda of understanding (MOU) for investment cooperation especially as it relates to the digital economy. Additionally, expect an MOU on duty-free treatment for Zambian products.
During the pandemic, Zambia defaulted during and subsequently experienced a plunge in its currency; it recently secured a zero-interest loan of $1.3 billion from the IMF to alleviate this issue. Experts predict that the deal will disrupt bilateral relations, as Zambia will shift its priorities from investment in public infrastructure—normally financed by Chinese stakeholders—to recurrent expenditures. However, China is Zambia’s primary customer for its main export, copper, and Zambia’s government claims it will rely on Public Private Partnerships (PPP) policy to maintain Chinese engagement. For its part, China considers maintaining solidarity with Zambia a long-term strategic objective.
Madeline McQuillan is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a contributor to the Daily Brief. Her expertise is in European politics and transatlantic relations. She holds a Master of Science in European and International Public Policy from the London School of Economics.