The Practical Significance of Reactivating TAZARA
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, H.E. Mr. Du Xiaohui
18 August 2022
On August 10, H.E President Hakainde Hichilema attended the commissioning ceremony of the TAZARA Memorial Park. The TAZARA is the largest foreign aid project since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. During the process of assisting the construction of TAZARA and technical cooperation, about 70 Chinese-aided construction experts and engineering technicians sacrificed their lives. In order to commemorate the heroes and martyrs of the TAZARA and other China-Zambia cooperation projects, the Chinese and Zambian governments decided to jointly build the TAZARA Memorial Park. The Memorial Park is located in Chongwe District, Lusaka Province. It consists of a memorial square, a monument, a memorial hall, and a martyr’s cemetery. A total of 36 Chinese martyrs who died in Zambia were buried.
The history of the construction and development of TAZARA embodies four spirits:
First, the spirit of equality. At the request of Zambia and Tanzania, the Chinese government and people selflessly helped build TAZARA. The ownership of the railway belongs to Zambia and Tanzania. Today, China is making every effort to prepare for the reactivation of the railway upon Zambian and Tanzanian request again. Last week, both Zambia and Tanzania reaffirmed ‘One China’ Principle, which is the most important political asset left to us by Chairman Mao Zedong, President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and President Dr. Julius Nyerere. From the very beginning, the cooperation between China, Zambia and Tanzania has always been based on mutual respect and equality.
Second, the spirit of perseverance. Unafraid of dangers or sacrifice, builders from China and Zambia opened up the Railway of Uhuru and Friendship. In the face of foreseeable and unforeseen risks and difficulties, as long as the “spirit of perseverance” exists, no country, no force and no person can stop the people’s friendship of two countries from generation to generation.
Third, the spirit of internationalism. Though facing its own hardship at the time, China made the firm decision to help build TAZARA. Today, globalization is facing headwinds, and the rights and interests of developing countries need to be protected urgently. China is willing to work with Zambia and Tanzania to promote South-South cooperation and safeguard international fairness and justice.
Fourth, the spirit of mutual benefit and common development. TAZARA has always embodied the characteristics of the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation. By jointly building the family of the Belt and Road cooperation and implementing the Global Development Initiative, China and Zambia, based on their own development strategies, have shared development opportunities and achieved common development.
The best way to commemorate the martyrs of TAZARA is to reactivate it as a railway for Development, Prosperity and Green, which holds very important practical significance:
One is to support the government’s development vision. TAZARA is an economical, convenient, safe and environment-friendly mode of transportation. Once reactivated, it can promote the development of Zambia copper mining industry and help solve the transportation problems after the substantial increase in copper production.
The second is to promote practical cooperation between China and Zambia. China and Zambia share complementary economic advantages, and the reactivated TAZARA will facilitate the export of more high-quality Zambian products to China, and provide support for deepening China-Zambia cooperation in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and other fields.
The third is to benefit more local people. TAZARA has driven the development of regional product processing, retail and service industries. Once reactivated, it will promote transnational and trans-regional cooperation and benefit the local people.
The fourth is to deepen the “Belt and Road” cooperation. TAZARA is an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Once reactivated, it will enhance the development for its nearby areas, which can eventually form special economic zones and contribute to the transportation connectivity and regional integrated development.
Each generation has its own mission. The mission of our generation is to reactivate TAZARA and make it a new highlight and brand for high-quality development of the Belt and Road and China-Africa friendship.