Zim open to Chinese investment, need to eradicate corruption: VP Mphoko
ZIMBABWE is open for Chinese investment but there is a need to eradicate corruption and instill discipline if the country is to successfully follow the economic footsteps of its giant Asian ally, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has said.
China has metamorphosed from being a very poor nation over three decades to becoming the world’s second biggest economy after it implemented radical economic changes that included opening up its market to foreign investment.
VP Mphoko made the remarks when he met Mr You Quan the Communist Party secretary for the Fujian Province in Xiemen City yesterday.
Xiemen is a coastal city with a population of 36 million people.
Fujian Province in which Xiemen is located, is an economic hub with a $400 billion Gross Domestic Product.
VP Mphoko is leading a Zimbabwe delegation attending the 19th China International Fair for Investment and Trade.
Over 600 businesses from more than 90 countries are attending the investment indaba where they are expected to showcase their products.
“Zimbabwe is a very young country in terms of development but we have what you do not have, natural resources. Zimbabwe is open for Chinese investment. You can come on a Government to Government arrangement or you can come on company to company and so forth,” said VP Mphoko.
He implored China to give Zimbabwe its “recipe” for economic development saying the country was eager and willing to learn from its Asian all-weather friend.
“We wish to be like you. We want to develop our country the same way you did with yours. Our relations date back to the liberation struggle. You have supported us through our war of independence. The lesson of discipline is one thing we require,” said VP Mphoko.
“Discipline of the people and I think that is the reason why you are at that level of development because of the discipline of your people. We admire that. It is a recipe for development — the zero tolerance law against corruption.”
VP Mphoko said the visit by President Mugabe to China and a reciprocal one by President Jin Jinping to Zimbabwe last year was a clear testimony of vibrant bilateral relations between the two countries which must translate into economic benefits for both sides. “There are companies that we have established between Zimbabwe and China. All what we need to do is to make sure those companies are functioning well for the betterment of our people,” he said.
VP Mphoko said Zimbabwe had a lot of gold and he intended to, among other things, establish how best to assist small-scale miners during the investment indaba which officially opens tomorrow.
He also highlighted investment opportunities in timber in Matabeleland North Province and in various other sector of the economy.
“Allow us to cope and take the best things from you in order to develop our country,” said VP Mphoko.
He assured the Asian country that Zimbabwe would re-pay loans extended to it by China and was already working on modalities.
“We have been very worried that all you have given us we have not paid. The President is very angry about that and very soon that programme (repayment) will be unfolded and we are going to pay.”
In response, Mr You saluted the close relations between Zimbabwe and China but underscored the need for discipline and to initiative market reforms. “The country should open up to the outside world. Opening up means making full use of development from other countries, make use of international resources. Each country has its own strengths and weaknesses, let us complement each other. Zimbabwe has many rich natural resources. Those resources give you a better position for development. We encourage competitive Fujian businesses to invest in Zimbabwe. We must have stability for development to occur. When investors invest abroad they want stability,” said Mr You. The investment and trade fair officially opens today. It features 6 000 exhibition booths which cover an estimated 138 000 square metres.
The event held annually since 1997, is considered one of the largest global investment platforms aimed at facilitating bilateral investment.