Kuda Bwititi, Harare Bureau
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 our Harare Bureau 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.
Meanwhile, VP Chiwenga is Acting President.