01 Nov 2019
On Wednesday, the Zambian government announced that the number of local firms potentially participating in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) increased.
According to Christopher Yaluma, the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, a total of 35 firms have so far confirmed they will be participating, with the number expected to rise to as much as 40, as some companies have made their own arrangements. This would mark a significant rise when compared to the number of firms which participated last year.
During the first CIIE organised in 2018, a total of 14 participants from Zambia were recorded. “This time there has been a lot of interest from the SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) because they have now seen an opportunity where they can grow their small businesses into big businesses,” said Yaluma speaking to Xinhua News Agency in an interview.
“The number of private sector following us has grown […] So this will be bigger and I can assure you it will be bigger year by year because this is the only way we can let our small-scale farmers, small-scale industries and small-scale miners have their way into the international market,” he noted.
Yaluma said that southern African nation was very grateful to the Chinese government for offering a market for its products, adding that Zambia has welcomed the opportunity with open arms.
The minister noted that following the participation in last year’s expo, Zambia managed to finalise a market worth $90 million of its honey in China, as well as settle another arrangement for the supply of pig trotters.
In addition to providing a new market for Zambian products, by participating at the expo Yaluma noted that local firms were pushed to enhance the standards of their products, seeing how many competitors from all over the African continent were trying to break into the Chinese market.
“I would like to thank the Chinese government for being considerate to allow Zambia to, in our way, penetrate their market with our products which I think means a lot to the Zambian people, to the Zambian government because that would create our more desired foreign exchange that would also help create employment,” he stated.
Yaluma also applauded China for awarding Zambia with the status of guest of honour at the expo. The minister said that the Zambian government was humbled by this gesture, adding that it was a demonstration of the bilateral relations the two countries have relished over the years. Yaluma pointed out how the African and Asian nations have welcomed positive bilateral relations since their diplomatic ties were founded 55 years ago.