Strong Challenge to Zambia’s President – Michael Wines

The recent election in is an indication of a rising backlash against China’s recent surge of activity in Africa. From the New York Times:

Zambia’s wildest and most entertaining presidential campaign in memory staggered to a finish on Thursday as voters chose between the wooden incumbent, Levy Mwanawasa, and a silver-tongued populist who pledged to lower taxes and throw out a rising class of Chinese merchants and investors…

The Chinese have become an especially large target for Zambians. Chinese merchants operate a healthy share of Lusaka’s shops, and a blast at a Chinese-owned factory making explosives for mines killed dozens of Zambians and aroused widespread protest earlier this year. [Full text]

Read more about China in Zambia, from the Financial Times: “China’s African embrace evokes memories of the old imperialism”:

Zambia’s Copperbelt, an industrial hub set amid torrid African bush, is one of the world’s richest stores of the metal. During British rule the region formed the backbone of the colonial economy and served as a cradle of Zambian nationalism. In the 1970s Maoist China, in a mark of solidarity with southern Africa’s newly independent states, built the Tanzam Railway linking Zambia’s Copperbelt with the Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.

Today China – as an emerging economic colossus hungry for raw materials – is back in Zambia as a direct investor. Like past foreign patrons, the Chinese are taking no chances with their new prize. [Full text, via A Glimpse of the World]

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