CHINESE President Xi Jinping arrives in the country tomorrow for a historic two-day State visit that will see him inking several deals with Zimbabwe spanning various sectors of the economy. The visit by the Chinese leader will cement the special relationship Zimbabwe has with China and expedite the operationalisation of mega deals signed by President Robert Mugabe on his State visit to Beijing in August last year. As leader of the world’s second largest economy, President Xi commands a lot of respect and clout the world over and his visit to Zimbabwe has attracted the interest of the entire world with hundreds of journalists already in Harare to cover the event.
No doubt Zimbabwe will become a centre of attention this week while President Xi and his delegation of about 200 people that includes Cabinet ministers and members of the ruling Communist party of China are in the country.
The Chinese delegation will also include private sector players and a set of deals will be signed in areas such as infrastructure, energy, transport and agriculture. Apart from enhancing implementation of existing deals, fresh opportunities will be explored by the Chinese in the rail sector, hospitality industry, textile, real estate and housing.
China’s robust financial services sector will have a strong presence in Harare with officials from the China Export and Import Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China — one of the biggest banks in the world — among the delegation.
China has the world’s highest foreign currency reserves at $3,8 trillion and has been reconfiguring this foreign currency holding by exploring investment options abroad. Zimbabwe has a perfect opportunity to seize on this thrust by pitching for some of the investment to be done in the country.
The visit by the Chinese President vindicates Zimbabwe’s Look East policy and shows that indeed China is Harare’s all weather friend. President Xi is visiting Africa for the second time since assuming power and Zimbabwe will be the second country he is visiting on his second trip to Africa.
In a powerful message on his visit to Zimbabwe, President Xi said his mission would focus on ensuring that people benefited from his engagements with President Mugabe.
“I look forward to having an in-depth exchange of views with President Mugabe and friends from all sectors of Zimbabwe during my visit, with the aim of enhancing friendship between our two countries, exploring new opportunities and delivering benefits to our two peoples.”
To illustrate the importance the Chinese government is attaching President Xi’s visit to Zimbabwe, China’s National English Daily newspaper will run a special publication in Zimbabwe over the course of their leader’s engagements with President Mugabe. We welcome President Xi’s visit to Zimbabwe and applaud him for showing true friendship and sincerity by coming to the country at a time when the Western world is maintaining sanctions on Zimbabwe.
His visit will confound detractors of Zimbabwe and consolidate the already strong ties that exist between Harare and Beijing. We are certain that mega deals signed between the two countries will be operationalised and more opportunities for businesspeople unlocked. With its booming economy, China is a strategic trading partner for Zimbabwe whose economy is beginning to show signs of recovery. Zimbabwe badly needs investment particularly in infrastructure which has deteriorated over years of neglect.
We are hopeful that companies such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe and NetOne will benefit from the deals likely to be signed between the two countries. Financial closure for the Hwange Thermal Power station refurbishment project is also set to be concluded paving way for the deal to be operationalised. Trade between Zimbabwe and China has exceeded the $1 billion mark over the past two years and we are sure it will continue to grow.
Speaking to the Sunday Mail on Friday, China’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said President Xi viewed his relationship with President Mugabe as “special.”
“President Xi regards Zimbabwe as special. The fact that Zimbabwe is one of the only two countries President Xi will visit during this trip to Africa demonstrates that he attaches great importance to China-Zimbabwe relations and has special feelings for the Zimbabwean people.
“Actually, when our two Heads of States met in Beijing in August last year and in Jakarta (Indonesia) in April this year, President Xi spoke very highly of the traditional friendship between China and Zimbabwe and our current bilateral relations.”
We hail the Chinese leader for the high regard with which he attaches the relationship between Zimbabwe and China. The special bond between the two nations should continue to grow from strength to strength.