New Parly build­ing first batch fund­ing pact signed

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Love­more Chikova in Bei­jing, China

ZIM­BABWE and China have signed an agree­ment worth $46 mil­lion as part of the first batch of funds for the con­struc­tion of the new Par­lia­ment Build­ing in Mt Ham­p­den.

The agree­ment was signed by Macro Eco­nomic Plan­ning and In­vest­ments Pro­mo­tion Min­is­ter Obert Mpofu here dur­ing a meet­ing on the fol­low - up to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of var­i­ous projects be­ing car­ried out by the Chi­nese.

This came as Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Mr Wang Yi told the same meet­ing that Zim­babwe was among six coun­tries in Africa with which the Asian eco­nomic giant had signed frame­work agree­ments for pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion.

The meet­ing that was at­tended by more than 100 gov­ern­ment min­is­ters from African coun­tries, was a fol­low-up to the Jo­han­nes­burg sum­mit of the Fo­rum on China-Africa Co­op­er­a­tion (Fo­cac) held last year.

Min­is­ter Mpofu said last week that apart from fund­ing for the new Par­lia­ment Build­ing, more agree­ments would be signed with China in agri­cul­ture and hous­ing un­der the Eco­nomic and Tech­ni­cal Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment.

He was lead­ing a del­e­ga­tion to the meet­ing made up of Agri­cul­ture, Mech­a­ni­sa­tion and Ir­ri­ga­tion Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Dr Joseph Made and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Pub­lic Works and Na­tional Hous­ing Min­is­ter Saviour Ka­sukuwere.

“You know, Zim­babwe is an ac­tive mem­ber of this or­gan­i­sa­tion (Fo­cac) and we have sub­mit­ted pri­or­ity projects to be con­sid­ered,” said Min­is­ter Mpofu.

“We sub­mit­ted projects that we feel are key un­der our eco­nomic re­vival, that is agri­cul­ture, sup­port in agri­cul­ture, as well as sup­port in hous­ing. Hence the pres­ence of Min­is­ter Made and Min­is­ter Ka­sukuwere to ac­tu­ally beef up our del­e­ga­tion in ar­gu­ing our case for the sup­port.”

Min­is­ter Mpofu said he had a long meet­ing with Chi­nese Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture Mr Han Changfu where they dis­cussed some of the deals.

“Among six or so projects that were sub­mit­ted, we have now cen­tred on the two that I men­tioned and the dis­cus­sions and en­gage­ment that we have made so far are very en­cour­ag­ing,” he said.

“We pri­ori­tised our ini­tial sub­mis­sions to deal with agri­cul­ture and hous­ing be­cause any econ­omy can only be ac­tive if agri­cul­ture is pro­duc­ing some­thing. That’s where the sus­te­nance of the econ­omy is be­cause agri­cul­ture leads all other sec­tors of the econ­omy into boost­ing pro­duc­tion.”

Min­is­ter Mpofu said his del­e­ga­tion, which also in­cluded of­fi­cials from the Pres­i­dent’s Of­fice, Fi­nance, For­eign Af­fairs, En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter and Cli­mate and In­dus­try and Com­merce, was also in China to re­view progress on all mega projects be­ing un­der­taken by the Asian coun­try in Zim­babwe.

China signed deals worth bil­lions of dol­lars with Zim­babwe in var­i­ous sec­tors in the last two years mostly in in­fra­struc­ture such as en­ergy and power, rail, roads and hous­ing.

Some of the deals like the ex­pan­sion of Hwange Ther­mal Power Sta­tion by Sino-Hy­dro are al­ready be­ing im­ple­mented, while the pa­per work is in progress for others.

Also ad­dress­ing the same meet­ing, Min­is­ter Wang said Zim­babwe was part of the few coun­tries that had signed pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with China.

“We have signed frame­work agree­ments for pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion with six coun­tries in­clud­ing Ethiopia, Egypt, Nige­ria and Zim­babwe,” he said.

“A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of large-scale in­fra­struc­ture projects in rail, road, port, air­port, elec­tric­ity, wa­ter sup­ply and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions are well un­der­way.”

Mr Wang said there was need to keep mo­men­tum on the co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments be­tween China and African coun­tries to fast-track the im­ple­men­ta­tion process.

China has also do­nated emer­gency food aid to 14 African coun­tries, in­clud­ing Zim­babwe, af­fected by the El Nino in­duced drought, Chi­nese Min­is­ter of Com­merce Mr Gao Hucheng also told the del­e­gates.

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