Tawanda Musarurwa in BEIJING, China
ZIMBABWE is looking to secure at least $2,5 billion in lines of credit from major Chinese banks for on-lending to the private sector, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC), Minister Chimanasa, who is part of the Presidential delegation attending the conference, said the lines of credit are for on-lending to critical sectors of the economy.
“We are looking for lines of credit, and we have been having those discussions on the sidelines of 2018 FOCAC, but there is nothing that we can tell until they have come to fruition.
“We are looking at $2, 5 billion lines of credit to support the entirety of the productive sectors, tourism, mining, industry, agriculture and manufacturing among others.
“We (Minister Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya) did not go to FOCAC today, we have spent the day engaging a number of Chinese financial institutions. For instance, we have met ICBC and others, which we would not want to mention at the moment,” said Minister Chinamasa.
“We have also met Afrixembank officials who are here.”
Notwithstanding the move to secure new lines of credit, Minister Chinamasa said Zimbabwe was looking to take advantage of the $60 billion facility for African countries announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the official opening of FOCAC 2018 on Monday.
The $60 billion facility will be provided in the form of Government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies.
He said the concessionary loans will help grow the economy as they do not increase the country’s level of indebtness.
“We have to come up with bankable plans (to access the $60 billion facility). The lines of credit will build our capacity to honour our obligations, so yes, temporarily it will have an effect on our indebtedness but what our economy is looking for right now is foreign currency to retool our manufacturing sector, to supply raw materials, to re-equip our mines, to modernise our agriculture through mechanisation.
“Once that is done then you have more production and with more production, these problems fall by the wayside,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Meanwhile, FOCAC 2018 closed yesterday (Tuesday).
Today, President Mnangagwa is set to have bilateral meetings, first with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, to be followed by meetings with some African Heads of State.