The Chinese and the Zambian governments on Friday launched an exhibition to mark the construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), a joint railway project between Zambia and Tanzania built over 40 years ago.
The launch of the "TAZARA: A Monument of Friendship for 40 Years" exhibition at the Lusaka National Museum was witnessed by Zambia's first President Kenneth Kaunda and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming as well as Zambia's independence fighters.
Sylvia Chalikosa, minister in the Office of the Vice President and the guest of honor, said the exhibition was intended to showcase the process of the railway's construction and its significance to a landlocked country like Zambia.
"I have no doubt in my mind that through this exhibition, our people will learn the history of the construction of TAZARA. It will also give a feel of the TAZARA spirit that inspired the men and women who were part of this great project in the middle of Africa that has stood the test of time," she said.
She hoped that the exhibition will help the young generation learn the history of the railway line and carry forwards its spirit in the future.
The Zambian government is committed to ensuring that TAZARA's operations were revamped so as to contribute effectively to national development, she added.
She paid tribute to both Chinese and Zambian nationals who sacrificed their lives during the construction of the project and hailed China over its dedication to the project even during the time when it was going through economic problems of its own.
Yang said the railway was a project of friendship initiated by the leaders of the three countries.
The Chinese envoy, who described the project as a great railway of freedom, noted that it provided the urgently needed and most important link to the sea when Zambia's southern routes were blocked due to instability in some countries.
The railway line, he said, has played a key role in the economic development of not only Zambia and Tanzania but also other neighboring countries.
The governments of the three countries have reached consensus on how to revive the railway line which has been facing operational challenges, he said, adding that its revival will usher in a new era for the railway and inject new impetus into the industrialization and agricultural modernization in the region.
Kaunda said the construction of the railway line was a shining example of the cooperation with China and that African leaders recognize the sacrifice China made to make the liberalization of southern Africa a reality.
The former Zambian leader further hailed the spirit of Chinese leaders to cooperate with African countries which has been carried on by their successors.
The construction of the railway linking Tanzania and Zambia started in 1970 and finished in 1976, covering 1,860.5 km from the Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi to Tanzania's Dar-es-Salaam.