As Chinese influence continues to grow rapidly in Zambia, the state-owned Times of Zambia newspaper has come up with an ingenious way of increasing their revenue – by publishing today’s lead story in Mandarin.
The article quotes President Edgar Lungu as saying Zambia “will not look east or west – we will look forward and go with whoever wants to go with us”.
Those are comments he made while hosting a Swiss delegation at the presidential palace Monday.
Reporting the story in both English and Mandarin Chinese is a move aimed at tapping into the Chinese market, says chief government spokeswoman Dora Siliya.
One person argued that Gujarati would have been a better language to choose given Zambia’s Indian population.
Another said Zambia’s indigenous languages should be favoured over foreign languages as a matter of national pride.
Zambia has recently been forced to deny accusations that the government has accumulated a lot of debt by borrowing from China and putting up some key public assets, including the national broadcaster and the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, as collateral.
China denied these allegations as well.
According to the government, Zambia’s current external debt is $9bn with up to 30 per cent of that amount being money borrowed from China.