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Speech at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriageway

(From Chinese Embassy in Zambia)

2017/09/11

Your Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia,
The Honourable Mr. Ronald Chitotela, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development,
The Honourable Mr. Japhen Mwakalombe, Minister of Lusaka Province,
The Honourable Mr. Sydney Mushanga, Minister of Central Province,
The Honourable Mr. Bowman Lusambo, Minister of Copperbelt Province,
Mr. Xu Guojian, General Manager of China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation,
Traditional leaders,
Distinguished guests,
Friends from the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

It is my great honor and pleasure to attend this long awaited Groundbreaking Ceremony today. First of all, on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China, please allow me to express my warm congratulations to Your Excellency, to the government and people of Zambia on the groundbreaking of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriageway. It is indeed a happy occasion as it marks a new level and another important milestone of the transportation infrastructure development in Zambia.

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we all know that China and Zambia share profound traditional friendship and enjoy a time-honored history of cooperation in the area of infrastructure. Your Excellency said, which I cannot agree more, that while the old generation of Chinese and Zambian leaders has left to us a historic monument of friendship in TAZARA, the new generation of leaders should also have our own monument marking the China-Zambia friendship. In this regard, I wish to say that the recent years have witnessed not one, but a cluster of projects, as symbol of China-Zambia friendship and cooperation, which we have implemented, are implementing and will implement, such as the Mongo-Kalabo Road, which is a technological wonder, the Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station, which is one of Zambia's largest infrastructure projects, two international airports in Lusaka and Ndola respectively and indeed this Dual Carriageway. We shall however never be complacent of what we have achieved in China-Zambia infrastructure cooperation of the past, but should always look into the future to make new achievements.

As a Chinese saying goes, "build your roads first if you want to get rich". Transportation infrastructure is crucial to the economic and social development of a nation. Zambia has many favourable natural endowments for its development, however, subject to poor infrastructure, a fair amount of its economic potential cannot be fully tapped. The project of Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriageway, the Groundbreaking Ceremony of which we are witnessing today, is exactly a key step to break the bottleneck of Zambia's development. This 366 kilometer road, linking Lusaka, the nation's capital, Kabwe, the capital of Central Province, and Ndola, the capital of Copperbelt Province, as well as Kapiri Mposhi, the terminal of TAZARA in Zambia, is the veritable economic artery of Zambia, which covers about 40% of the national population directly, and almost 70% indirectly. I have travelled between Lusaka and Ndola many times. Due to narrow road and heavy traffic, traffic jams and accidents occur frequently. After its completion, the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriageway will undoubtedly improve the road conditions, reduce the travel time and cut down road accidents. It will also effectively improve Zambia's investment environment, promote employment, create a modern economic corridor, drive the development along the road, and provide a solid foundation for the socio-economic development of Zambia.

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here I wish to say a few words to the contractor of the project, China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation, CJIC, which first arrived in Zambia in 1987. It was one of the first Chinese companies to enter the Zambian market and is currently implementing more than 30 projects in Zambia with a total amount exceeding 2 billion US Dollars. The highlight of these projects is the upgrading and expansion of the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. It is worth mentioning that CJIC is also undertaking the 920 Boreholes Drilling Project aided by the Chinese government in Central Province and Luapula Province. The Project, now 80% completed, and expected to be fully completed by the end of this year, will benefit more than 300,000 people directly. I believe that, CJIC will fulfill its mission, complete the project in time and with high quality, and deliver to the government and people of Zambia a quality final product. I would also urge the company to engage as many local people as possible in the construction of the project.

Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Locating in the center of southern Africa, Zambia is poised to become a transportation hub for the region. And China is experienced in infrastructure development, leading in the world with work efficiency and project quality. I therefore see great prospect for China-Zambia cooperation in transportation infrastructure development under the framework of FOCAC and the One Belt One Road initiative. China will continue to support the development of transportation infrastructure in Zambia, bring our cooperation in this sector and other fields to a higher level, and help Zambia attain its 2030 goal of becoming a prosperous middle income country.

Once again, I wish to extend my warm congratulations on the groundbreaking of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual Carriageway.

Thank you for your kind attention!

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