China pledges more financial support Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (third from left) and Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun (clasping hands) follow proceedings at the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China at 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale, Harare, on Saturday. With them are the ambassador’s wife Mrs Wang Wei and deputy ambassador Mr Zhao Baogang (second from left). —Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent

CHina has pledged to assist Zimbabwe with developmental aid and foreign direct funding increasing from US$2,1 billion it extended to the country last year.

Speaking during a Confucius Institute “Know China” conference at the University of Zimbabwe yesterday China’s Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Zhao Baogang said apart from the grant and FDI that Zimbabwe benefited in 2018 alone, China remains very much committed to avail more funding.

“Bilateral co-operation is very important. China is the only country that has done most for Zimbabwe through provision of grants and loans. We are doing a lot, trying to help and in future we will do more than those countries that impose sanctions here.

“Last year alone China availed US$2,1 billion grant for various projects including the Hwange Thermal Power Station US$ 1 billion, Kariba South extension over US$ 500 million, Harare (Robert Gabriel Mugabe) International Airport US$150 million and Victoria Falls International Airport US$150 million,” he said.

Mr Baogang said China feels the US$487 million FDI injected into Zimbabwe was still way below the country’s potential.

“We feel the US$487 million is not enough and we hope that the Government would fast track or resolve some of the impediments in the investment policies so that more FDI continues to pour,” he said.

Renmin University of China vice president Professor Wu Xiaqin, who was the guest of honour, said the anti-corruption crusade being spearheaded by Government was one of the key pillars to achieving prosperity.

“Fostering talent is also vital for our economic growth, but the fight against the vice of corruption is key for our development. Corruption affects many things including rising operation costs and as China we fought hard against it.

“Chinese top Government officials including ministers, mayors were arrested and this made China rich and a modern powerhouse,” he said.

Professor Wu Xiaqin said patriotism was also vital for development and in China’s quest for prosperity the Communist political party was supreme over Government in terms of policy direction.

University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Academic Affairs, Professor Rosemary Moyana said instead of depending on Chinese investors it was high time African nations explore opportunities for serious business engagement with China.

“This kind of interaction should make the ground fertile for prospects of empowerment through a better understanding of China’s social, cultural, political and economic environment,” he said.

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