Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Government expects the country to benefit economically from its co-operation with China, especially in the area of Information Communication Technology, a sector that has transformed the Asian country into a global powerhouse.Information, Technology and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira made the remarks when Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Lin Lin, paid a courtesy call on him yesterday.
The minister, who was flanked by his deputy, Dr Win Mlambo, and permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Sam Kundishora, said China’s economic boom was a result of technological innovation.
“China is today a leading country in terms of technology and Zimbabwe has a lot to benefit by engaging the Asian country,” said Minister Mandiwanzira.
“The biggest technology company in the world today is Chinese and it’s Huawei. I think that the opportunity we have in increasing the relationship, increasing the investment from China is huge.”
He said a number of Chinese companies had running projects with Zimbabwe’s cellphone operators, and as such Government would be inclined to open up more opportunities for Chinese companies to invest in the in ICT sector.
Minister Mandiwanzira said a $218 million loan to NetOne from China Export and Import Bank towards its network expansion was testimony to Chinese goodwill.
The deal was signed during President Mugabe’s State visit to China last year.
“If you look at the way China is growing, technology is at the centre of that growth. If you look at the number of billionaires in this world, the biggest number is coming out of China and most of those people are coming out from technology industries.
“Everybody in the world knows that China now dominates the global economy. Now if you want to be successful as a country, if you want to be successful as an industry in this world, you have to be working with the Chinese, you have to know what the Chinese are doing,” said Minister Mandiwanzira.
He said there were a number of opportunities that Zimbabwe could benefit from in its cooperation with China especially in technology transfer by getting scholarships for young Zimbabweans to study in the Asian country.
Minister Mandiwanzira said Zimbabwe and China would encourage private companies from the two countries to engage without banking on Government to Government deals.
He said given the pressing demand for funds from China for capital projects like infrastructure development, it was important that private businesses in Zimbabwe engaged the Chinese to invest in viable projects locally.
Ambassador Lin said the two countries would benefit from economic cooperation.
“We are also trying to encourage Chinese companies in the ICT area to start investing in this country, not only by using loans provided by financial institutions of China, which is kind of Government to Government cooperation, but we will also try to encourage companies to do their own investment. In that way we can have more cooperation, more projects being carried out,” said Ambassador Lin.