Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
President Mnangagwa is leading a delegation of 10 Cabinet Ministers and about 80 private sector business executives to China as his administration seeks to unlock opportunities and bolster efforts to turnaround the economy.
The President and his delegation left for Beijing, China, yesterday to spread the news that Zimbabwe is now open for business.
Zimbabwe and China enjoy cordial relations dating back to the days of the liberation struggle.
The high-powered engagement has been preceded by Economic Joint Commission meetings between officials from the two countries held in Beijing last Thursday and followed by a meeting of Ministers chaired by Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo (Retired) and his Chinese counterpart, yesterday.
In an interview from Beijing yesterday, Lt Gen Moyo said President Mnangagwa was travelling with several business executives from the private sector since they were the anchor of the country’s economy.
He described the trip as a milestone that will further reinforce relations between Zimbabwe and China.
“His Excellency, the President will be accompanied by about 10 Ministers and various officials and the private sector. Remember the thrust is that the Government is there to provide appropriate business environment and the private sector is the foot-soldier and in that regard there are 77 businesspeople to attend several meetings that have been lined up here by Chinese people for them to interact,” said Rtd Lt Gen Moyo.
He said President Mnangagwa’s trip to China was significant in many ways.
“It is very significant because this is the first State visit by His Excellency outside Africa and it is not by coincidence but by design because of the bi-lateral relationship between the two countries. The objective is primarily to deepen relationship between the two nations and above all to concretise and revitalise economic co-operation between the two countries,” said Rtd Lt Gen Moyo.
He said the visit was at the invitation of Chinese leader, President Xi Jinping and Zimbabwe felt indebted not only to the leadership in Beijing but the people of China for the support that they had shown on Zimbabwe. “The visit has also been preceded by a Joint Commission of the two countries on March 29, 2018, attended by officials in Beijing which was followed by a meeting of Ministers which I chaired with my Chinese counterpart,” he said.
“Several deals would be signed aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two countries,” said Rtd Lt Gen Moyo.
“There would be significant concretisation of cooperation in form of several deals which I cannot divulge at the moment,” he said.
President Mnangagwa is also expected to hold meetings with senior Communist Party of China officials.
The Chinese Embassy in Harare indicated last Friday that the engagement would culminate in the announcement of a “huge package” to advance President Mnangagwa’s development agenda.
President Mnangagwa paid tribute to China which stood with Zimbabwe alongside Russia at the United Nations Security Council as the two countries vetoed a motion by the United States aimed at getting the UN to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Some of the projects China is implementing include construction of Parliament of Zimbabwe and a pharmaceutical warehouse, among other projects. The Chinese recently completed the expansion of the Kariba South Power Station, which saw additional 300MW being added to the national grid.