China-Zimbabwe cooperation reaches new high

SANF 15 no 67
Twelve investment agreements have been signed by China and Zimbabwe during the State Visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

President Xi and his host, President Robert Mugabe, witnessed the signing by different ministers of the agreements worth $4 billion covering aviation, energy, telecommunications, infrastructure, and private sector ventures.

The agreements include financing for expansion of the Hwange Power Station and a national fibre optic broadband project, construction of a new Parliament building and a pharmaceutical warehouse, and provision of wildlife monitoring equipment.

During the first half of next year, the China Eximbank will begin extending loans to Zimbabwe of more than $1.1 billion for the expansion of Hwange Power Station and TelOne’s fibre optic broadband project.

Sino-Hydro was contracted to undertake the Hwange project that will add 600 Megawatts of power to the national grid, which is struggling due to low water levels at Kariba hydropower station and recurrent faults at Hwange.

The agreements include a grant of $65 million dollars for the construction of a new Parliament building and a pharmaceutical warehouse.

Two of the agreements are private sector driven. One was signed by International Business of China and China Africa Sunlight Energy on the development of coal and methane gas mines and a thermal power station at Gwayi. The other was signed by AVM Africa and Beijing Automobile Assembly.

The agreements will add momentum to the implementation of Zimbabwe’s development plan, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).

Other general agreements included one on economic and technical cooperation between Zimbabwe and China signed by the ministers of commerce of the two countries.

Another framework agreement on enhancement of investment was signed by the Minister in the President’s Office for Policy Coordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures with China’s top planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

China, as the largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the most developing countries, are increasingly influential in global affairs and actively strengthening cooperation.

A recent symposium in Harare on China-Africa relations addressed how this “new type of strategic partnership” can benefit local development while contributing to redefining global governance structures.

President Xi arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday leading a delegation of more than 200 people including senior government and party officials.

President Mugabe told journalists that relations between Zimbabwe and China have reached a new high following the state visit.

“Although their stay was brief, but the essence of the visit was phenomenal and shall always be remembered by us in Zimbabwe. The Chinese and Zimbabweans are excellent friends, friends not just today, friends that have established their friendship back and our future will always be on the path of that. We are all-weather friends.”

President Xi thanked Zimbabweans for the warm reception, saying, “I am satisfied by this visit.”

He said the consolidation of relations with Zimbabwe and other African nations remains a cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy, adding that he values the important contribution by Zimbabwe to the solidarity and development of Africa during the past year when President Mugabe has held the African Union chair.

“In conducting China’s relations with Africa, we adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests.

He said the two leaders would meet again at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit that takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 4-5 December.

“We are going to meet again at the China-Africa Summit in South Africa and I hope it will be another resounding success.”

The FOCAC Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre has the theme “China-Africa Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development”.

FOCAC is an increasingly influential platform that has played in important role in enhancing collective dialogue and practical cooperation since it was established at the turn of millennium 15 years ago.

In a statement on China’s Africa Policy presented last year at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia, the Premier of the State Council of China, Li Keqiang, pledged to promote major projects in six areas of cooperation – industrial, financial, poverty reduction, ecological and environmental protection, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing peace and security.

These are likely to be key areas of focus for the FOCAC discussion and subsequent Plan of Action for the next three years 2016-2018. The Action Plan is expected to have a significant regional dimension for the first time, in supporting the regional structures that build African unity.

The African and Chinese leaders are planning to issue a Johannesburg Declaration of FOCAC.

The 2nd FOCAC Summit which takes place on 4-5 December following the 6th ministerial meeting will continue to improve this mechanism for cooperation, enrich its content and make the platform more practical and efficient.