Zim big­gest win­ner in China

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - BUSINESS - Tawanda Musarurwa

THE Zim­bab­wean economy will emerge the big­gest win­ner fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s at­ten­dance at the 2018 Bei­jing Sum­mit of the Fo­rum on China - Africa Co-op­er­a­tion (FOCAC).

With Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping tabling a $60 bil­lion fa­cil­ity for African coun­tries, Zim­babwe has al­ready lined up solid projects to ac­cess the fund­ing and ex­pe­dite their im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Pres­i­dent Xi said the fi­nanc­ing will be pro­vided in the form of Gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance as well as in­vest­ment and fi­nanc­ing by fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and com­pa­nies.

For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter Dr Sibu­siso Moyo said at least three projects have been lined up. These in­clude the NetOne ex­pan­sion project, Hwange 7 and 8 ex­pan­sion, and up­grade of the Robert Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

“In April, the key projects which were ap­proved were, firstly, Hwange 7 and 8, and you are aware that a ground-break­ing cer­e­mony was done by His Ex­cel­lency. The sec­ond project is the Robert Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port up­grade and that ex­pan­sion is al­ready un­der­way, there has been a ground-break­ing cer­e­mony; and the third one is the NetOne ex­pan­sion, which is also al­ready un­der­way.

“What is im­por­tant for now is that there is clar­ity of ac­ces­si­bil­ity of funds within FOCAC. The man­ner in which this was pre­sented by Pres­i­dent Xi was such that you can only be a na­tion that fails it­self in terms of ac­cess­ing these funds. But these (projects) are avail­able, they have clar­ity of pro­ce­dure,” he said.

Min­is­ter Moyo said the pri­vate sec­tor should not be left be­hind in ac­cess­ing part of the $60 bil­lion fa­cil­ity. The fa­cil­ity will see China im­ple­ment­ing eight ma­jor ini­tia­tives with African coun­tries in the next three years and be­yond. The projects will cover in­dus­trial pro­mo­tion, in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity, trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion and green de­vel­op­ment.

Min­is­ter Moyo said the pri­vate sec­tor only needs to present clear, bank­able projects.

“The projects are all mar­ket-ori­ented, ex­cept where the funds are con­cerned and it means there must be proper fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies. It means both Gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor should re­ally come up with world-class fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies that are firm and vi­able and this is so that projects can be self-sus­tain­ing within the frame­work of project fi­nance mech­a­nisms,” he said.

Not­with­stand­ing the avail­able con­ces­sion­ary loans, Zim­babwe is hop­ing to utilise China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI) to bet­ter in­te­grate in the global economy. China is one of the most pow­er­ful economies in the world.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said the BRI is in line with Vi­sion 2030, which will see Zim­babwe achiev­ing mid­dle-in­come sta­tus in twelve years to come.

The South­ern African na­tion must achieve a gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) level of over $65 bil­lion by 2030 to at­tain this sta­tus. Coun­tries with per capita gross na­tional in­comes of be­tween $996 and $12 195 fall un­der this cat­e­gory.

Zim feeds into BRI

China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is an am­bi­tious ef­fort to im­prove re­gional co-op­er­a­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity on a trans-con­ti­nen­tal scale. It is meant to strengthen con­nec­tiv­ity, deepen eco­nomic co-op­er­a­tion based on each other’s strengths and to seek mu­tual de­vel­op­ment.

The Belt and Road is in line with the pur­poses and prin­ci­ples of the United Na­tions Char­ter, in as far as it up­holds the Five Prin­ci­ples of Peace­ful Co­ex­is­tence, mu­tual re­spect for each other’s sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity, mu­tual non-ag­gres­sion, mu­tual non-in­ter­fer­ence in each other’s in­ter­nal af­fairs, equal­ity, mu­tual ben­e­fit and peace­ful co-ex­is­tence. The BRI thrives on the ba­sis of mu­tual ben­e­fits and win-win co-op­er­a­tion.

The ini­tia­tive in­volves China un­der­writ­ing bil­lions of dol­lars of in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment in coun­tries along the old Silk Road. China is spend­ing roughly $150 bil­lion a year in the 68 coun­tries that have signed up un­der the scheme.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said the BRI is a sig­nif­i­cant en­hance­ment of the old Silk Road — an an­cient trade route that linked China with a net­work of coun­tries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

“The Road and Belt Ini­tia­tive has taken ev­ery­body on board so that our economies can talk to each other, so that our economies can help each other mod­ernise and mech­a­nise. We are get­ting con­nected and ben­e­fit­ing from each other.

“If you look at the cur­rent FOCAC meet­ing, there are is­sues that we are go­ing to deal with. There is the is­sue of trans­porta­tion and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, among many oth­ers.

“We be­lieve that all this can be done con­sid­er­ing the re­la­tion­ship un­der FOCAC, where the rest of Africa is mak­ing con­ver­sa­tion with China, and China is help­ing Zim­babwe and Africa to de­velop. This cre­ates the in­te­gra­tion of mar­ket­ing in China and Africa. We we are happy that we are part of this global vi­sion. We in Zim­babwe are com­mit­ted to the BRI and we do not want Zim­babwe to be left be­hind be­cause we want to be linked to global mar­kets and the global economy,” Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said.

Re­sults from bi­lat­eral meet­ings

Fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of the FOCAC 2018 Sum­mit, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa met with his Chi­nese

coun­ter­part, Pres­i­dent Xi.

Sev­eral agree­ments were made dur­ing the bi­lat­eral meet­ings. These are ex­pected to fur­ther eco­nomic col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly with re­gards to agri­cul­ture.

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Dr Moyo out­lined the ma­jor out­comes of the bi­lat­eral meet­ings.

“The sec­ond agree­ment was to do with the com­mit­ment by China to im­port cit­rus fruits from Zim­babwe. The obli­ga­tion will ob­vi­ously re­main with our pro­duc­ers here in Zim­babwe to be able to gen­er­ate ad­e­quate pro­duce which should sat­isfy the de­mand of China. One of the is­sues that was dis­cussed was a pos­si­bil­ity of re­verse in­vest­ment in­te­gra­tion, where the mar­ket it­self — the Chi­nese mar­ket — would come here to sup­port the pro­duc­ers in or­der to cre­ate ca­pac­ity of pro­duc­tion to al­low ex­por­ta­tion to China. We al­ready have the prece­dence of con­tract farm­ing in the to­bacco sec­tor,” said Min­is­ter Moyo.

“The last agree­ment was that of 500 bore­holes, which were do­nated by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. These bore­holes are meant to sup­ple­ment water in ar­eas ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a deficit. We have had pre­vi­ous sup­port of around 300 bore­holes, now they have added 500 bore­holes.”

More Chi­nese firms eye Zim

Dur­ing the visit, sev­eral Chi­nese busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions lined up to en­gage Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa to ex­press their will­ing­ness to in­vest in Zim­babwe. The Chi­nese busi­nesses that have ex­pressed in­ter­est to in­vest in Zim­babwe in­clude Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd, a global leader in con­sumer elec­tron­ics; TBEA, which spe­cialises in elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion, trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion. TBEA has ex­pressed in­ter­est in Zim­babwe’s power trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion projects.

The Pres­i­dent also met with and signed a mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) with the Belt and Road Col­lab­o­ra­tive In­no­va­tion Cen­tre (BRCIC).

Ear­lier in April, the chair­man of the BRCIC met Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa and of­fered schol­ar­ships to Zim­bab­wean stu­dents.

Other Chi­nese busi­nesses that met with the Pres­i­dent in­clude Yan­tai JinAO Pro­tec­tion Tech­nol­ogy Co, a gold min­ing com­pany in­volved in re­frac­tory gold ore ex­trac­tion and pro­cess­ing; the Touchroad In­ter­na­tional Hold­ings Group, which is in­volved in spe­cial eco­nomic zone de­vel­op­ment, resources ex­ploita­tion, fi­nance and in­ter­na­tional trade and China Gezhouba Group Com­pany Lim­ited & CGGC, which is one of the largest com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tions providers for the power in­dus­try in China and glob­ally.

Other com­pa­nies in­clude China Gold, CCCC, a di­ver­si­fied group and 21 Cen­tury Space Tech­nol­ogy Co Lim­ited, which is in­volved in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

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