Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chinese Capital Helps Zimbabwe Cushion Western Sanctions: Minister  
2015-09-23 20:30:00

HARARE, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's strong ties with China has help it tap into the Asian giant's huge capital resources for development as a cushion to the withdrawal of funds from traditional Western donors, a cabinet minister said Wednesday at a local university forum.

Zimbabwe has suffered from a roll-back of investment from the West for the past 15 years, hence the need to look for an alternative. It then managed to establish a strong economic relationship with China, building on the two countries' strong political ties forged during Zimbabwe's liberation struggle in the 1960s and 1970s, said Minister of Welfare for War Veterans, War Collaborators Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Mutsvangwa, speaking at the Sino-Zimbabwe relations symposium organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe, recalled China's assistance to the country in the 1970s when revolutionary liberators like himself were otherwise denied the means to overthrow a unrelenting whites minority regime.

Mutsvangwa, a former ambassador to China in the early 2000s, said the European powers who once formed a cartel trying to block weapons flowing to African liberators later formed a quasi-cartel to deny independent young African states of the capital which is crucial to development.

Interest rates from Western financial institutions were prohibitively high and Africa being denied its fair share of capital explained the under-development of the continent, he said.

Zimbabwe adopted a "Look East" policy in 2004 to foster strong ties with China and other emerging Asian nations as development partners.

"We need to access capital on a multi-billion dollar scale to get our economy forward and that is why the architecture of the Chinese financial system has become important because it is an alternative financial system which is not hostile to us," Mutsvangwa said.

Zimbabwe has in fact emerged as one of the major destinations of Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa. According to the Chinese embassy in Harare, Chinese FDI into Zimbabwe has risen from 460 million dollars in 2011 to 601 million dollars in 2013.

Chinese companies extensively invest in mining, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunication and tourism.

Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa would develop faster with financial support from China than from the Bretton Woods institutions whose cost for capital he said was prohibitive.

Zimbabwe expects cooperation with China to plug energy shortfalls

2015-09-22 14:08

HARARE - Zimbabwe is prioritizing energy cooperation with China to plug energy shortfalls that have affected economic growth, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Monday.

The minister made the remarks during a meeting with the visiting chairman of Sinosure Wang Yi who is on a five-day maiden visit to the southern African country.

Zimbabwe faces perennial power shortages due to obsolete equipment, and is currently producing half of its 2,000 megawatts energy requirements.

The government has contracted Chinese firm Sinohydro to expand the second largest power plant, Kariba Hydro Power Station, by 300 mW. The Chinese-funded project began in 2014 and is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Sinosure provided insurance cover for the project.

Sinohydro has also been contracted to expand the biggest power plant Hwange Thermal Power Station.

"At the forefront of government's priorities with regard to further cooperation with Chinese financial institutions is energy, also against the background of regional power deficit across the region," Chinamasa said.

Wang expressed Sinosure's desire to deepen cooperation with Zimbabwe by providing it with comprehensive insurance cover.

Sinosure has previously provided insurance cover for several loan facilities to Zimbabwe covering the country's now defunct steel maker ZISCO, agricultural equipment and machinery, supply of medical equipment and rehabilitation of municipal water and sewage treatment works, among others.

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