Dubai -Citibank has dispelled assertions by some sections of society that China is taking over some of Zambia’s State-owned entities due to debt.
The bank’s regional head for East Africa, Joyce-Ann Wainaina, said the advent of social media has given birth to fake news.
Ms Wainaina said China is a force to reckon with in meeting Africa’s infrastructure needs that are inhibiting intra-Africa trade.
She was speaking when she addressed journalists during the Middle East and Africa media and community summit here.
Ms Wainaina said with the continent requiring about $100 billion to finance infrastructure gaps in the next 10years, partners such as China are cardinal.
“China-Africa engagement dates back to many years. The railway line [ TAZARA ] between Zambia and Tanzania was built [from 1970 to 1975] by China to enhance market connectivity China still stepping up to meet the infrastructure gaps,” she said.
Ms Wainaina said China ha been active in roads, rail and energy, among other sectors, which are key in the transformation of the continent.
“Africa budgets can only meet 28 percent of its infrastructure needs but China has stepped up. Other multilateral institutions are also doing that.
” There is also a view that if Africa could fund more projects there would be an acceleration of intra-Africa trade,” she said.
Ms Wainaina said the Chinese private sector is also present in Africa and is contributing to economic transformation.
She cited China’s largest ladies shoe manufacturing company, which has set up a factory in Ethiopia ad helping to develop the leather value chain, and the ceramic tile factories in Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal as some of the Chinese private sector entities in Africa.
Ms Wainaina said African countries also benefit from the Belt and Road initiative, which is a development strategy adopted by by the Chinese government to develop overland interconnecting infrastructure corridors.
She, however, said African governments need to be clear on their selection of funding and ensure that the funding goes to intended projects.
On speculation that China is taking over some State-owned entities in Zambia, Ms Wainaina said. “There is fake news in the advent of twitter and everyone has become a journalist.
Citibank has done it’s research and there is no sale of Zesco Limited. We need to be cautious on what real news is and what is not.”