Xi's Zimbabwe visit to elevate bilateral ties to new high

Updated: 2015-12-01 13:58


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Xi's Zimbabwe visit to elevate bilateral ties to new high

Preparations of the coming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping is in full swing in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, Dec 1, 2015.[Photo by Larry Lee/chinadaily.com.cn]

In recent years, China has emerged as Zimbabwe's biggest investor and an important trading partner. Trade between China and Zimbabwe grew by 22 percent every year on average between 2010 to 2014.

Chinese direct investment in Zimbabwe hit $600 million in 2013, surpassing any other African country in terms of attracting Chinese investment that year. Chinese banks have also provided loans amounting to $1.5 billion to Zimbabwe in recent years, Chinese government figures show.

Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwean minister of policy coordination and promotion of socioeconomic ventures in the president's office, said China has made "huge" contributions to Zimbabwe's economy.

He said it is thus important to carry on this tie to the future because of China's economic status in the world.

Despite a slower growth this year, China remains a major world economic powerhouse as the Chinese economy contributes 30 percent to the world economic growth.

The Communist Party of China has recently made a proposal on China' s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) for national socioeconomic development, with the development concept of "innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development."

The plan lays down the guidelines China will follow in the next five years. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said it offers opportunities to China-Africa win-win cooperation as Africa has set accelerated industrialization and sustainable development as primary goals in its first-decade plan.

Fay Chung, a prominent African-Chinese who has been studying China-Africa relations after her retirement from Zimbabwean cabinet ministerial posts, said she noticed China-Africa economic cooperation emphasis is now placed on "industrial cooperation," a development that has the potential to bring opportunities for the continent which went through de-industrialization in the 1990s.

In Zimbabwe, the current depressed economic environment takes its toll on the country's already weak industries. According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, about 4,600 companies closed down between 2011 and October 2014 while capacity utilization is at 34 percent.

Chung said financial partnerships, technological support and partnerships with indigenous companies would enable the Zimbabwean economy to progress beyond being a mere primary production economy and become a producer of finished products.

She said this development would entail a bigger market for Chinese goods, which however will now be manufactured here in Africa while at the same time providing opportunities for Zimbabwean industrialists to benefit from China's development experience.

"Such partnerships will also bring about an increase of both agricultural and industrialemployment, very much needed in Africa which is under-industrialized with high levels of unemployment," she added.