Chinese firms plan to invest $300 mln in Zambia industrial park

LUSAKA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Chinese companies plan to establish a new industrial park on the outskirts of the Zambian capital Lusaka with an initial investment of $300 million, a visiting company executive said.

More than 30 Chinese companies would invest in areas including bicycle assembly, telecommunications and the manufacture of water pumps, Zou Lin, the chairman of construction services group Tianjin Taida Landun said.

Zambia’s Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said the park would provide a further spur to Chinese investment in the southern African nation.

Chinese companies have invested heavily in mining and other sectors over the last 10 years with investment reaching $2.6 billion in 2014, the Chinese embassy said.

China has lent Zambia’s neighbour Angola around $20 billion since a 27-year civil war ended in 2002, according to Reuters estimates. Angola is Africa second largest crude oil producer, whereas Zambia is its second biggest copper producer.

The 1,000-hectare park would also host Chinese firms involved in international trade, the medical industry, packaging, agriculture and tourism, Zou said.

“Total investment will be $300 million for the first phase and this will gradually rise to $1 billion,” Zou said, adding the park would lead to new infrastructure and jobs.

China plans to invest a further $900 million over the next five years in an economic free zone, where firms will be exempted from some taxes such as customs duties. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia and Keith Weir)