By Mugove Tafirenyika
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is said to be hopeful that his current visit to China will unlock substantial investment and much-needed aid for Zimbabwe — as his administration bids to solve the country’s economic crisis.
Mnangagwa is on a week-long State visit to Beijing, where he has already met with the leader of the East Asian superpower, Xi Jingping, as he attempts to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s ailing economy following decades of misrule by deposed president Robert Mugabe.
While the questions of a financial aid package for Zimbabwe, and how to boost trade relations between the two countries — as well as Zimbabwe’s overdue debt to China — are set to dominate the formal part of the State visit, both countries are also keen to showcase and cement their political ties.
Mnangagwa told Xi earlier this week how he had been trying frantically to turn a new leaf for the country from the Mugabe-era, which had seen both local and foreign investors losing their companies and land willy-nilly.
Posting on his official Facebook page after his meeting with the Chinese leader, Mnangagwa described the two men’s engagement as fruitful.
“During our meeting, we discussed fostering and developing the historic ties between our two great nations for the benefit of both our peoples.
“I was delighted to hear President Xi talk of his faith in our vision and economic agenda, and his commitment to working with our government as we build a new, stronger Zimbabwe,” Mnangagwa said.
“In this vein, this morning at a Zimbabwe-China business forum, I enjoined hundreds of businessmen and women from both countries to harness the tremendous potential of our great nation towards greater economic growth for all Zimbabweans.
“Forums such as these help us to bring in the investment we require to create more jobs and develop our new Zimbabwe,” he added.
The Daily News also understands that Beijing is keen on helping Zimbabwe with a financial bailout, that will be underpinned by the country’s mineral wealth.
Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum deposits in the world and is the fifth largest lithium producer. According to the Chamber of Mines, the country’s nearly 800 mines also have the potential to earn $18bn a year — although they were currently only turning out about $2bn per year.
China is also reportedly willing to give Zimbabwe a fresh chance, after Beijing was reportedly angered by the previous Mugabe regime which was seen as “directionless and disorganised”.
When Mugabe ill-advisedly expelled mining companies from the rich Marange diamond fields in Manicaland province, this included Anjin — a partnership between Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company Ltd of China (AFECC) and an investment vehicle controlled by Zimbabwe’s military.
The Marange diamond fields which are located a few kilometres outside Mutare, are considered to be one of the world’s biggest deposits of diamonds.
At the height of the mining of diamonds there, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Kusena and Gye Nyame were some of the companies which were involved in the extraction of the gems in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
In the meantime, Zimbabwe and China have signed several Memoranda of Understanding that are expected to expedite the country’s socio-economic recovery.
Among the deals that have been inked is one on economic and technical co-operation, which was signed by the minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa, who is accompanying Mnangagwa.
On the other hand, Foreign Affairs and Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Human Resources Development on behalf of the Public Service Commission. – DailyNews