On Monday 16 August, 2021 the Electoral Commission of Zambia announced that Hakainde Hichilema had won the Presidential Election making him the 7th Republican President of Zambia.
Under the Leadership of Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Zambia jailed two men from Kapiri Mposhi for 15 years in Jail for practicing Gayism. Zambia is generally conservative over that topic and the public doesn’t seem to take a liberal stance over it. The move was widely condemned by the then American Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote. This cause the a strain in the relationship between the two countries. This made the previous regime to seem to be pro-China.
With Hichilema as President-Elect, the American Embassy officials were visitors to his residence. Since the public have feared that the Zambia-China Diplomatic Relations are likely to dwindle. With the President going to the United States of America for the United Nations General Assembly an ultimately he visit to the White House and Bretton Wood Institutions.
The stance by the current regime that it will seek bailout from the Bretton Wood Institutions particularly the International Monetary Fund has been received with mixed reactions by the Zambian public. The fear is that the Bretton Wood Institutions have stringent measures which ultimately bring suffering on the citizens of the borrowing countries.
A brief history is about the Zambia-China Diplomatic Relations is that in the 20th Century, Zambia was one of the motion movers to have China reinstated as a full member of the United Nations. When the Zambian economy took a downturn after the Unilateral Declaration Independence in Rhodesia, Zambia sort the help of China to revamp it’s economy and since then the Relationship has grown from strength to strength. The current debt situation between Zambia and China is been a source of debate in Zambia and internationally.
According to the China Africa Research Initiative based at John Hopkins University in the United States of America reports that Zambia owes Chinese lenders $6.6 billion contrary to the Official Figure that the previous Zambian government reported which stood at $3.4 billion. The Zambian government has been spending 30% of it’s income on interest payments to the said lenders.
With that said and the current stance by the new government, it seems the Zambia-China Diplomatic Relations are likely not to be same ever again based on the new government’s stance with the Western World.
However, looking at it from an optimist angle, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, a conference on Sustainable Development Goals was held. One of the goals looks at Climate Change and Clean Sources of Energy. With most of the G20 countries moving towards manufacturing Electric Cars to secure the environment from the negative consequences of Climate Change, Copper and Cobalt have been identified as key resources in the manufacturing of Electric Cars, Zambia has found herself in the middle of a trade battle.
The Sino-America trade battle is about to intensify as the Chinese still have a considerable amount of influence on Zambia based on the current debt situation the country is engulfed in. The Americans also are trying to make serious inroads in this country basing on the Democratic Transition witnessed last month.
The Zambia-China Diplomatic Relations have not seen the last of their better days. Zambia should play herself Economic Diplomacy and It stands to see significant economic development and infrastructural development as well.