Zambia Election Brings New Challenges For Chinese Miners

Beijing has lost a friend in Africa. Rupiah Banda has conceded defeat in Zambia’s presidential election to opposition leader Michael Sata, a man known as King Cobra for his venomous tounge which he has used to criticize China’s often contentious mining investments in the north of the country. The election is likely to affect the way Zambia awards new mining contracts, bring tighter enforcement of safety and labor regulations and higher mine wages, and to see the reimposition of a 25% windfall tax on all foreign mining companies operating in the country. President Banda had scrapped the tax and during the election campaign, he had highlighted the economic growth spurred by Chinese investments. There were reports, denied by Banda’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy, that Chinese firms had contributed heavily to his reelection campaign. It remains to be seen how much of Sata’s populist rhetoric will be tempered by the practicalities of office in the face of such a significant source of foreign investment.

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