ZIMBABWE – In Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare, Xi and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe – who has been internationally criticized for failing to curb human rights abuses in the country – held talks and oversaw the signing of 10 agreements and memorandums of understanding covering energy, aviation, telecommunications and investment promotion deals to shore up Zimbabwe’s floundering economy.
Calling China Zimbabwe’s “best friend” on the worldwide stage and describing Xi’s visit as a significant event in the development of bilateral ties, Mugabe told Chinese agency Xinhua in a recent interview that he will confer with Xi on bilateral cooperation in various sectors.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) and his wife Peng Liyuan (4th L) greet dignitaries as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (L) looks on in Harare, December 1, 2015.
Beijing Automotive Group Co. will invest as much as 11 billion rand in what could become the biggest auto plant in South Africa, Trade Minister Rob Davies said in an interview after the press conference. We have just witnessed the signing of 26 agreements that are worth R94 billion.
“As you know, he’s only been in office less than two years, and already he is visiting South Africa the second time on a state visit”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping began a five-day African visit yesterday, which he would use to showcase China’s expanding role as a protector of regional security as well as a provider of infrastructure and consumer of resources. “But you still have to pay for it and it will lead Zimbabwe deeper into a debt crisis”, Antony Hawkins, economics professor at University of Zimbabwe’s Graduate School of Management said, referring to Xi.
Although there were no figures announced for Tuesday’s deals, China and Zimbabwe have signed investment agreements for fibre internet roll-out, power generation and construction of a pharmaceuticals warehouse as well as the building of a new parliament building. Oranges imported from Africa surged 309 percent, South African wine shipments jumped 84 percent and coffee from Kenya rose 30 percent in the first nine months, Qian said. He’ll then receive a similar reception in South Africa before participating in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday – the first such gathering to be held in Africa. “The summit will not only deepen and upgrade Africa-China relations, but will synergise China-Africa development strategies”, said Executive Chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé.
While China is Africa’s biggest trading partner, with two- way flows exceeding $220 billion past year, the pace of investment has slowed. Its investments in Africa amounted to $32.4 billion at the end of 2014, according to London-based BMI Research.
The meeting was organised for China and Zimbabwe business entities to share notes on investments opportunities.