Felex Share Senior Reporter
Experts from China’s economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, yesterday met Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and assured him that the Asian country was prepared to take economic risk and assist Zimbabwe in transforming her economy.
The NDRC studies and formulates policies for the Chinese Government’s economic and social development and guides the restructuring of the country’s economic system.
The agency has sent experts led by Dr Liu Jianxing, to evaluate the mega deals signed by President Mugabe when he visited the Asian country last year to enable the financing of the projects to start rolling before year end.
The actual value of the projects would be known by Friday when a Memorandum of Understanding on the financial side of the deals would be signed.
Briefing journalists after the NDRC experts met VP Mnangagwa, War Veterans, War Collaborators, Political Detainees and Restrictees Minister, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa who also attended the meeting, said Zim-Asset now had the “legs” to unleash prosperity to the people of Zimbabwe.
He said this planning body created China, the world’s largest economy.
“It is a great honour and respect to Zimbabwe that this super planning body is now being given the task to help Zimbabwe build a modern economy using their own experience in China, but adapted to the Zimbabwean circumstances. They are here to look at various priority areas of the Zimbabwean economy including selection of projects, which need immediate attention.”
Ambassador Mutsvangwa said the major thrust of the engagements was for Chinese companies to bring Foreign Direct Investment to Zimbabwe.
Special economic zones, he said, would be rolled out in the country with the expertise of the NDRC.
“They are moving away from loan financing, which has characterised our relationship because it has severe limitations to equity financing,” he said.
“Chinese companies are going to take risk, based on the resources of Zimbabwe, its strategic location, political stability, wise leadership of President Mugabe and its rich human resource base. China has built is economy on the basis of the special economic zones and it is a major recipient of FDI.”
Ambassador Mutsvangwa said focus would be mainly centred on infrastructure development and logistics.
He said the NDRC was, in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Central Bank of China, taking practical steps to ensure the two countries did transactions using the Chinese currency, Renminbi (RMB).
This, he said, would prevent countries inimical to Zimbabwe from scrutinising the investments.
“Every currency is a middle man and using currencies of other countries is expensive,” Ambassador Mutsvangwa said.
“The more middle men you put between yourself, the more expensive the deal becomes and you will also be exposing your trade transactions to third parties.”
The mega deals signed by President Mugabe are expected to transform Zimbabwe’s economy and create more employment.
They are intended to be drivers for the implementation of the Zim-Asset programme that was crafted to provide solutions to problems facing the economy that rose due to illegal sanctions imposed by Western countries.