Lusaka, Tuesday, July 10, 2018: The Government of the People’s Republic of China has appointed Li Jie, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Zambia as Special Representative to COMESA, Africa’s largest trading bloc.
Ambassador Jie presented his Appointment letter to the Secretary General, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya on Tuesday ,10 July 2018, in Lusaka signed by His Excellency Wang Yi, the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China.
China is one of the major development partners for most COMESA member states mainly in infrastructure, transport, telecommunication, energy and agriculture.
During the accreditation ceremony, Ambassador Jie commended COMESA for having recorded remarkable achievement in promoting regional integration and becoming the largest sub-regional economic cooperation organization on the continent.
He pledged his government’s continued support to the various areas of development in order to further enhance the COMESA-China relations.
“China is willing to work together with COMESA on the basis of what we have already achieved and further promote the mutually beneficial cooperation and push the new strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Africa to a new height, ”he added.
Ambassador Jie urged COMESA member States to take full advantage of the annual Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit to deepen relations and cooperation.
In welcoming the new Special Representative, the Secretary General Mr. Ngwenya commended China for always collaborating with African countries on a ‘win-win’ partnership basis. He singled out key infrastructure projects such as the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, Kenya’s standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi and the Tanzania Zambia Railways (TAZARA) as clear indications of China’s commitment to Africa.
He noted that over the last decade, south-south trade has almost doubled. Investment into Africa from China reached USD$2.3 billion in 2013.
Mr. Ngwenya highlighted that COMESA countries are happy that China has become the world’s largest economy on a purchasing power parity basis and is leading as a manufacturer, merchandise trader and holder of foreign exchange reserves. He commended China for playing a critical role in the decolonisation of Africa and the supporting the liberation struggle for most African countries.
“When China supported the liberation of countries under colonial rule, it was on the basis of shared values and principles that each country and its peoples should be free to determine their form of governance, including the appropriate trajectory of social and economic development,” he added.
Mr. Ngwenya added that the regional organization should work with China in addressing the infrastructure deficit that currently exist across the block. He mentioned that COMESA is highly expectant of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative (OBOR) to have a positive impact on all sectors especially energy, mining and agriculture.