Mugabe looks forward to Xi’s visit


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ZIMBABWE – HARARE, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and several cabinet ministers have said that they are keenly awaiting the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced Wednesday that Xi would pay a state visit to Zimbabwe on Dec. 1-2.

It will be the first state visit by a Chinese president to Zimbabwe in almost 20 years.

In an interview with Chinese and local reporters in Harare, Mugabe said the visit by Xi was a very important event that marked a great achievement by both Zimbabwe and China in their quest to further cement ties.

“We await the visit with very great interest and when he visits us we shall discuss some of the projects and programs we would want China to assist us in undertaking,” said Mugabe.

Today China is Zimbabwe’s top source of foreign investment and has helped the country with a number of infrastructure projects.

According to the Chinese Embassy in Harare, China invested 601 million U.S. dollars in Zimbabwe in 2013, surpassing Chinese investment in any other African country for the year.

Chinese grants to Zimbabwe over the past three years totaled 100 million U.S. dollars.

Mugabe said he would discuss with Xi various cooperation projects aimed at accelerating his country’s socio-economic development.

Last year, Mugabe visited China and clinched a number of cooperation deals in critical sectors of the economy.

Since then, there have been several engagements and high-level exchanges to prepare for the eventual takeoff of the projects.

Cabinet ministers said the government is hoping for increased economic and trade cooperation with China in the wake of Xi’s visit.

Speaking at a Zimbabwe-China investment conference Tuesday, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said Zimbabwe had a diversified manufacturing base that offered huge investment opportunities for Chinese investors.

Minister of Macroeconomic Planning and Investment Promotion Obert Mpofu said Zimbabwe had in recent months put into place various measures to improve investment climate and facilitate business in order to attract foreign investment.

He urged Chinese companies to invest in the country’s prioritized energy sector, saying the government is ready to provide the necessary incentives.

“The Chinese president will make a difference in our trade relations with China in a manner that is sustainable, in a manner that will attract many investors into Zimbabwe,” the minister told Xinhua.

HARARE, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping attached importance to the relations with Zimbabwe, hence he made it one of the two African countries he is visiting this year, and the visit is expected to raise the China-Zimbabwe all-weather friendship to a new high, China’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said Friday.

President Xi will pay a state visit to Zimbabwe Dec. 1 – 2 on his way to South Africa for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit, making it the fourth African country he has visited since assuming office.

HARARE, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwe and Africa at large must move away from a donor dependency syndrome and instead seek knowledge and ideas that could help it develop its manufacturing sector and boost its economy, African scholar of Chinese descendant Fay Chung has said.

Launching her new book “Zimbabwe Looking East” this month, the former two-term cabinet minister told Xinhua that Zimbabwe’s “Look East” policy should not just be about getting more money through foreign direct investment (FDI) but should focus more on values, skills, systems and technology transfer.

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