The Zambian Minister for Green Economy and Environment, Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu, MP, has called for close bilateral relations between Zambia and China in the areas of forestry development and management, green economy and climate change, meteorological and weather services, environmental protection and management, and capacity building.
The Minister was speaking when the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Zambia, His Excellency Mr. Li Jie paid a virtual courtesy call on him today.
Mr. Nzovu said the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment would like to learn from China’s development experience and is willing to create a favourable environment for mutually beneficial cooperation.
“The ministry would like to propose the following areas of further cooperation: Forestry development and management, and further facilitate value addition to timber products and honey and beeswax; green economy and climate change …to promote climate resilience and green economy practices through investments in low carbon and resilience efficient economic activities,” Mr. Nzovu said.
“Meteorological and weather services …focusing on producing and disseminating weather and climatic information to the aviation, agriculture and other sectors in order to facilitate informed decision making; environmental protection and management. We can learn from China on solid waste management and other issues to protect the environment.”
Mr. Nzovu appealed for support in capacity building of the Ministry’s internal staff in the leadership program, qualification improvement at degree and postgraduate level, and other capacities.
“The Ministry would also appreciate support in the area of capacity building for internal staff in smart and sustainable agriculture; climate change mitigation and adaption; training in forest management; environmental management; human resource management and governance; training in policy development; training in meteorology and climatology,” Mr. Nzovu said.
The Minsiter expressed gratitude to the Government of China for the longstanding bilateral ties with Zambia and its continued to support at bilateral and multilateral level.
“Let me take this opportunity to ride on the fruitful meeting you had with the President Mr. Hakainde Hichilema were the Chinese Government assured the President of working with Zambia’s New Government to lift bilateral cooperation in various fields to a new level, benefiting the two countries,” said Mr. Nzovu.
The Minister called for cooperation on aforestration, carbon trading, conservation farming, protection of forestry, reducing deforestration, reducing greenhouse gas emission, promotion of renewable energy, and protection against pollution, and support to Zambia’s small scale entreprenuers, among other areas of mutual interests.
And Chinese Ambassador Mr. Li commended President Hichilema and his Government and pledged to further strengthen the ties between China and Zambia.
The Ambassador assured Mr. Nzovu of the Chinese Government’s willingness to widen cooperation with the new Ministry in the five areas that the Minister had highlighted, including wildlife protection and combating illegal trade in wildlife.
Ambassador Li said China was committed to the Paris Agreement, combating climate change, pollution and environmental degradation.
In the face of COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Ambassador donated 10, 000 surgical masks to the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment for use by members of staff at Headquarters and in provinces.
Responding to the Minister’s concerns about the country’s debt burden and calling for China’s possible intervention, Ambassador Li said the debt challenges that Zambia was facing were a temporal difficulty in the country’s process of development. He said there were positive signs that the debt burden was being resolved.
The Chinese envoy was of the view that with the gradual development of Zambia’s economy, the debt issue will be resolved.
Ambassador Li assured that China will support Zambia in the latter’s engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its quest to come out of the debt challenges.
Ambassador Li also said China has one of the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Zambia. The Ambassador said China will continue to encourage investment in the future to be in the green economy and encourage sustainable development. [Lusaka Times]