Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
The People’s Republic of China yesterday extended a $153 million loan facility to Zimbabwe for the upgrade of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, as the two countries continue to deepen their bilateral relationship.
The Asian giant also announced two grants for the construction of the New Parliament Building in Mount Hampden, including the High Performance Computing Centre being constructed at the University of Zimbabwe, taking the total to $213 million.
Cumulatively, all the projects are valued at $213 million. The loan and grants will be administered through the Export-Import Bank of China. Finance and Economic Development Minister Mr Patrick Chinamasa and Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping signed the deal in Harare yesterday on behalf of the two Governments.
The $153 million loan, which carries a concessionary 2 percent interest rate, is payable over 20 years. It also has a seven-year grace period. Minister Chinamasa said Government expects the upgrading of the airport to boost tourist arrivals as is the case with the Victoria Falls Airport, which is currently experiencing a spike in arrivals after the completion of the refurbishment exercise.
“The Government of the People’s Republic of China also gave support to the people of Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle,” said Minister Chinamasa.