China deals – no quick joy, President Mugabe cautions

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ZIMBABWE – Zimbabweans struggling in a faltering economy should not expect immediate relief from the deals the country recently concluded with China, President Robert Mugabe has warned.

The veteran leader recently played host to Chinese leader President Xi Jinping and, according to state media, signed 10 investment deals with more than US$1 billion.

Government hopes China’s support will help bring relief to Zimbabweans battered by an economic crisis that has lasted more than ten years.

But addressing the ruling Zanu PF party’s central committee in Harare Wednesday, Mugabe said the impact of the China deals would take a little while to be felt.

“There have been efforts by the leadership of the party and leadership in government, also to seek more assistance from countries like Brazil, Belarus, and Russia etc,” he said.

“So, this assistance will be forthcoming, its effect cannot be felt today, but by next year, we hope the change will be felt by our people.”

The veteran leader added: “Recently, we had a visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“A number of programmes, as you will be told later, were discussed and agreed, some will continue to be discussed and possibly agreed.

“I got an assurance from him (President Xi) that they will help us as much as possible, provided we proceed to work on projects and programmes that they can accept as deserving that assistance.”

Mugabe said the government would stick with its ZimAsset programme which critics say has failed to deliver the two million new jobs the Zanu PF leader promised while campaigning for re-election in 2013.

“Well Zim-Asset yes, but Zim-Asset must be propped and I am sure you can see some of the efforts that we have been making to get those of our friends outside Africa with the assistance that could come our way,” he said.

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