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Agreements help economy of Zimbabwe

Updated: 2014-08-26 07:18
By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

President Mugabe turns to China to create jobs and attract investment

Agreements help economy of Zimbabwe

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attend a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. Mugabe is on a five-day visit to China. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

On his 13th trip to China on Monday, Robert Mugabe, the 90-year-old president of Zimbabwe, saw traditional ties become even closer when the two countries signed nine agreements that are expected to help revive the Zimbabwean economy.

The agreements, signed in the presence of President Xi Jinping and Mugabe, covered a wide spectrum, including economic and technical cooperation, food, financing, consular service and tourism.

Calling Mugabe a renowned African liberation leader and an "old friend" of the Chinese people, Xi said China would continue to help Zimbabwe in personnel training, financing and agricultural technologies.

China is willing to participate in the construction of special economic zones and industrial parks in the African country, as well as boost cooperation in infrastructure and manufacturing and encourage Chinese to invest in Zimbabwe, Xi told Mugabe.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe eyes more cooperation with China as the country is committed to boosting its economy, upgrading agriculture, industry, mining and infrastructure, and uplifting people's living conditions.

The former guerrilla, accompanied by a number of Cabinet ministers, started the five-day visit to China on Sunday amid Zimbabwe's desperate need for a cash injection to revive its sluggish economy.

Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party drafted a five-year blueprint to turn around the economy, but the plan's implementation requires a $27 billion investment - far beyond the cash-strapped government's financial capabilities.

He Wenping, director of the Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the latest visit by Mugabe is part of Zimbabwe's "Look East" policy, which is intended to forge cooperation with global powerhouse Asia, including China.

Zimbabwe, beset by economic woes, hopes to create more jobs with increasing foreign investment, and the country's stable domestic environment and rich resources present opportunities for Chinese investors, He said.

Zhang Ming, vice-minister of foreign affairs, expressed optimism on Monday about the two countries' future cooperation, saying there are great opportunities because China is deepening its opening-up and Zimbabwe highly values its social and economic development.

Trade between the two nations more than doubled to $1.1 billion between 2010 and 2013.

China has emerged as Zimbabwe's top source of direct foreign investment in recent years, with investment concentrated in the mining, construction, telecommunications and agriculture sectors. Zimbabwe has the world's biggest reserves of platinum after neighboring South Africa.


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