Zambia looks East

Chinese president Hu Jintao inaugurated a huge mining investment zone in copper-rich Zambia yesterday.

Chinese president Hu Jintao inaugurated a huge mining investment zone in copper-rich Zambia yesterday.

Zambia's president Levy Mwanawasa hopes the project will help alleviate the nation's chronic poverty.

The ceremony followed the conclusion on Saturday of an accord to set up an economic cooperation zone in Zambia's Copperbelt that aims to draw about R5,6billion in new investments to Zambia's mining industry.

China also agreed to cancel about R427million of Zambian debt and scrap import duties on about 250 products.

Hu's two-day visit to Zambia is part of an eight-nation African tour meant to increase the Asian giant's clout on the continent.

Facing mounting accusations of Chinese exploitation of African labour and resources, Hu stressed that Beijing was motivated by partnership rather than purely by profit. - Sapa-AP

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