Zambia on Tuesday commissioned The Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Center, an ultra-modern international conference centre. Construction of the facility started in 2020 and was financed by China.
The Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Center, with its main hall having a 2,500 sitting capacity, has been built to host the African Union (AU) mid-year summit this year.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema thanked China for the wonderful gift, saying the government was grateful for the support given to the country’s infrastructure development which dates back to the 1970s through the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA).
“This was a critical point in our history when Zambia had no access to oceans and, therefore could not import or export goods due to the blockade in Southern Rhodesia,” he said.
The conference centre, he said, will contribute to Zambia becoming a hub for hosting international conferences and meetings. He also commended the Chinese contractor for completing the project within the stipulated period.
The Zambian president invited the Chinese to collaborate in ensuring that infrastructure projects were built at the correct price and delivered to prescribed quality in a timely manner.
Zambia was looking to a new chapter of enhanced bilateral relations in order to improve the lives of the people of the two countries, said Hichilema.
Du Xiaohui, the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, said the construction of the project demonstrates the increased cordial relations that have existed between the two countries.
He commended Zambia for the successful completion of the project which embodies the spirit of China-Zambia relations established by the founding leaders of the two countries.
The Chinese envoy said the project will go a long way in helping Zambia enhance its international status as well as enable the southern African nation to host major international events.
According to him, the two countries have always treated each other as equals and with respect as well as supported each other.
Wang Shulin, the General Manager of China Jiangsu International Economic Technical Cooperation Corporation Zambia Limited, said it was an honour for the company to be given an opportunity to construct and deliver the project.
He said the company managed to construct the project in accordance with safety and environmental standards despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.