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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

From Beijing With Buses

The Chinese government recently donated 65 motor vehicles worth US$6 million (about K31.8 billion). The vehicles include 30 protocol saloon cars, 10 protocol coaches and 25 Higher city buses. China's Ambassador Zhou Yuxiao says "the vehicles are intended for two purposes. One is to help the Zambian foreign ministry or State House to establish a standing protocol fleet for receiving foreign delegations and the other is to put more buses in the public sector". Works and Supply Minister Yamfwa Mukanga says the Zambian Government cherished the assistance it had so far received from China and the new vehicles would boost Government's transport system.

Two observations that are worth noting from a wider appraisal of China's continued engagement in Zambia. First, China continues to demonstrate its ability to adapt to changing political situations. It has made great effort to demonstrate that it deals with the Government of the day not the party. Perhaps again emphasizing that the incentives at home drive its policy abroad. Secondly, the variety of China's bilateral aid. One minute we are talking about weapons, then next day we are talking about buses. This complex variety is challenge as we seek to understand the implications of its continued engagement. What is clear is that China is in it for the long term - and therein lies our leverage if properly utilised. 


  1. Somehow this sounds like double standards. If this had been the MMD, you would have come down harshly against the move by the Chinese.

    If grant assistance for hospitals:

    Is not good enough, how can you not bemoan the Chinese wasting money on yet another "gift" that is aimed at buttering up State House? They have more than enough protocol vehicles - when I was in Zambia they used to have an entire fleet of Mercedes Benz vehicles that would be sufficient for a visiting delegation of a hundred people or more.

    More money wasted on vehicles and less money in the pockets of those that really need grant assistance from China.

    Yet another injustice to the Zambian people through poorly targeted financial assistance.


  2. by definition this is a gift. I wonder how somebody would argue with that given that there are no strings attached to that and the government has not spent money on it. So the argument of link the concept of more money in the pocket to receiving gift in a transparent money is nothing but a dead goose. The Chinese have more money so they can spend it anyhow and anywhere.

  3. The last post correction * transparent manner

    You cannot link the concept of more money in the pocket to receiving an external gift. At this stage we should just thank the Chinese for helping out without politicizing or throwing lame excuses.

  4. Do you honestly think the Chinese (or anyone for that matter) is giving gifts with no strings attached?


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