The Chambishi ZCCZ Zone was established as a Zambian/Chinese joint venture at the heart of the Zambian Copperbelt based on and modeled after the Chinese special economic zones. In one of the few buildings already standing, we were led into a large, almost museum-like showroom with a giant A-380 hovering over future factory halls drawn onto the wall. There is an international airport at Ndola nearby, primarily built for Chinese commuters and Anglo-American, South African, Indian or European natural resources developers.

The “illuminated fields” evoke memories of the investment ruins in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here, however, the future still seems open and the promise of not just extracting natural resources, but also refining them in the country still has relevancy. Eventually, the costs of labor in China itself could be so high that China’s “global resourcing” may even extend to Africa’s workforce.

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