By Brenna Matendere
China’s reluctance to lend money to Zimbabwe despite the government’s “friendly and accommodating stance” demonstrated the failure of the Look East policy, says a senior economist.
Prosper Chitambara, of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (Ledriz), told members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) recently that many Zimbabweans had been convinced that China could make significant strides in turning around the economy.
“When President Mugabe and his officials left for China to seek assistance to solve our economic challenges, we were all convinced that it was going to mark the beginning of a new era. Everyone had hope since the government has been very friendly and accommodating to the Chinese.
“However, we simply got the message that the relationship is insincere. Despite having vast resources and the capacity, China failed to offer a direct loan to Zimbabwe,” he said.
China is the world’s fasted growing economic powerhouse, with about $3 trillion in its reserves and an estimated 12,000 tonnes of gold at its central bank.
“Despite all those resources, they failed to give Zimbabwe as little as $4 billion that can breathe life into the economy. It is now time to look beyond the Chinese and make our country credible to the international community. That is how we can move out of the current quagmire,” said Chitambara.
A visiting delegation of the International Monetary Fund led by head of mission to Zimbabwe, Diminique Fanizza, recently told the government that it had to improve its political image and pay or restructure its debts if it was to receive fresh loans from multilateral financial institutions. The Zimbabwean