Belt, Road Initiative spawns learning opportunity
Zimbabwe has hailed the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative for presenting an opportunity for learning and sharing as the country is working on deepening relations with friendly emerging economies in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
This came out at the ongoing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) conference in Beijing, China.
Presenting at the conference yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who is leading a Zimbabwean delegation, said Zimbabwe was keen to be a good partner of the BRI.
“Our ancient cultures have a history of commercial exchange. That was when both the Pacific Rim and littoral Indian Ocean states engaged in open and free trade.
“Sadly, the autarchic mercantilism of the imperial era as of the 16th century smothered those trade links of the Old Silk Road of land and maritime bonds,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe’s new foreign policy sought to do away with the economically debilitating pariah status.
“Our diplomacy is leaving no stone unturned. We are striving to engage nations that may have been negative to us. By the same token, we are busy deepening relations with the friendly emergent economies, the BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, China, India and our neighbour, South Africa. We are heartened by the offering of a more diverse and competitive global financial architecture beyond the IMF-World Bank of the Bretton Woods System,” she said.
She said President Mnangagwa was determined to fulfil resultant economic and social expectations.
“Please help him fulfil them to the joy of a prosperous Zimbabwe populace. We thus wish well to both the BRICS Bank and Asia Infrastructure Development Bank.
“The Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) and its high level summits has proved a boon to my continent. We are glad it has also served as a good example to other peer capital exporting nations,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa spoke highly of Zimbabwe and its vast natural resources such as fertile soils, favourable climate, minerals and hardworking people.
“Zimbabwe has fertile soils and a favourable climate for farming and agro-industry. It is a treasure trove of much desired mineral wealth. Zimbabwe has gold, diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones. There is the diverse energy offering of hydroelectric power, thermal and coking coal, methane gas. For new and green energy there is, platinum, lithium, uranium and abundant solar. Base metals galore include chrome, nickel, vanadium, tin, rare earths and scores of others.
“Unfortunately, two decades of the hostile geopolitics of sanctions imposed by large traditional trading partners have given Zimbabwe a knock.
“Zimbabwe is glad we are back to the future with President Xi Jinping and his Belt and Road Initiative,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa expressed gratitude to the strong bond between Zimbabwe and China from historical mutual interaction.
She said President Mnangagwa also stayed in Nanjing as a freedom fighter in the 1960s and was now leading the Second Republic of the independent and sovereign nation of Zimbabwe.
“My President has the grand national vision to transform Zimbabwe into a modern middle income country by 2030. To achieve this noble goal, he is championing the mantra, “Zimbabwe Is Open for Business”. He is keenly determined that Zimbabwe attracts the foreign direct investment that is key to fulfil his national vision. He has duly instructed his people to learn from global best practice and to proceed to excel in offering the most hospitable climate to enterprising global capital.
“The second Belt and Road Summit could not have come at a more propitious time for Zimbabwe. The BRI summit is a shining example of how China wants to generously and selflessly share out its experience with all nations.
“We wish other nations could embrace this noble aspiration with honest and candour. My nation of Zimbabwe knows this Chinese attribute of China as well-meaning friend. Indeed, ours is a case study and my presence here speaks volumes of our eagerness to learn and share without imagined fear or prejudice,” she said.