Zim poised for new gains at Fo­cac

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Kuda Bwititi Chief Re­porter

ZIM­BABWE is ex­pected to sign new deals in China this week, as Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s Govern­ment up­scales its eco­nomic growth agenda.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa is in Bei­jing for the Fo­rum for China-Africa Co-oper­a­tion (Fo­cac), and is sched­uled to hold bi­lat­eral talks with the host, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, on Wednesday.

He is one of the se­lect African lead­ers who will have bi­lat­eral meet­ings with the leader of the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy.

China’s chief en­voy to Harare Am­bas­sador Huang Ping ac­com­pa­nied Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa on his lat­est visit.

In an in­ter­view with The Sun­day Mail last week, China’s Deputy Am­bas­sador to Zim­babwe Mr Zhao Bao­gang said he was con­fi­dent that Harare and Bei­jing “will reach con­sen­sus on more projects”.

“There have been sev­eral projects that we have been work­ing on. I be­lieve that we will reach con­sen­sus on more projects that we could de­velop and un­der­take be­tween the two coun­tries.

“How­ever, we should un­der­stand that these projects take time, you can­not ex­pect that just be­cause these two lead­ers meet then ev­ery­thing is fi­nalised. But now we are en­joy­ing a good mo­men­tum and I ex­pect that more projects will be com­mis­sioned, and we will have ground­break­ing cer­e­monies.”

◆ Deputy Am­bas­sador Zhao said re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries con­tin­ued to grow.

“China’s pol­icy is to treat ev­ery African coun­try equally; so we treat all African coun­tries fairly and equally. How­ever, in terms of ac­tual fund­ing, Zim­babwe has been able to en­joy more than av­er­age loans com­pared to oth­ers.

“It is spe­cial that Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa will hold a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Xi and our hope is that this meet­ing will also ben­e­fit the peo­ple of Zim­babwe,” he said.

“We al­ways at­tach great im­por­tance to the re­la­tion­ship be­tween China and Zim­babwe. Over the past decades, we have al­ways sup­ported each other and our re­la­tions date back to decades ago in the lib­er­a­tion war when we fought to­gether.

“Af­ter In­de­pen­dence, Zim­babwe and China have sup­ported each other and our re­la­tions con­tinue to get stronger.”

In re­cent years, China has in­jected more than $2 bil­lion into in­fra­struc­ture in Zim­babwe.

This in­cludes $1,5 bil­lion for Hwange 7 and Hwange 8 Ther­mal Power Sta­tion; $530 mil­lion for the ex­pan­sion of Kariba South Hy­dro Power Sta­tion; and $153 mil­lion for the ex­pan­sion and mod­erni­sa­tion of Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The re­cent upgrade in re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries to Com­pre­hen­sive Strate­gic Part­ner­ship fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s April State Visit to China pro­vides scope for fur­ther co-oper­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

Added Deputy Am­bas­sador Zhao: “The Pres­i­dent has done a good job and af­ter his lead­er­ship, we have seen the el­e­va­tion of re­la­tions from all-weather friends to com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic part­ner­ship.

“This is a very im­por­tant po­si­tion that we have given to the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. Un­til now, China has com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic part­ner­ships with about 20 coun­tries. What I can say is that this will def­i­nitely give new vi­tal­ity for re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.”

Ad­dress­ing journalists in Harare on Thursday, Deputy Am­bas­sador Zhao said China be­lieved in the con­cept of a shared com­mu­nity.

“This is a com­mu­nity where we say no mat­ter big or small, we are equal, no mat­ter how reach or poor. We will build an in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity so that we can have ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion and shared val­ues. What­ever is­sues we have, we have dis­cus­sions and we reach con­sen­sus, this is not gov­erned by gen­eral law. We do not say that only the strong should have the fi­nal say.”

This week, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa is also ex­pected to meet China Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Chair­per­son Mr Li Zhan­shu.

Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and First Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa con­verse with Vice-Pres­i­dent Dr Con­stantino Chi­wenga be­fore their de­par­ture to China yes­ter­day, while Chief Sec­re­tary to the Pres­i­dent and Cab­i­net Dr Misheck Sibanda, Zanu-PF Na­tional Chair­per­son Cde Op­pah Muchin­guri-Kashiri and Min­is­ter of State for Harare Metropoli­tan Prov­ince Miriam Chikukwa look on. — Pic­ture by John Man­zongo

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