China working towards a better Zimbabwe
co-operation in diplomatic, economic, military, cultural and other field between the two countries during the past 30 years.
For a long time, the Chinese government and its people have spared no effort to help the Zimbabweans in building their homeland, developing economy, improving living standards, reducing poverty and fighting natural disasters, and have achieved remarkable success.
Building a better modern country
After Zimbabwe acquired its independence, the Chinese government built the National Sports Stadium to enable the country to meet it increasingly diverse sporting and cultural activities.
Through the efforts of the two governments and Chinese enterprises, the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium was completed in March 1987.
At the time of its completion, the giant national stadium was one of the largest and most highly-rated stadiums in Africa.
Since 2007, the Chinese government has invested over US$10 million towards the renovation and maintenance of the stadium resulting in it being restored to its original state.
Currently, six Chinese experts are in Zimbabwe to offer locals technical guidance on the management and maintenance of the stadium.
In addition, in order to improve sports hardware and infrastructure, in 1998, the Chinese government sent eight coaches to Zimbabwe to assist in the training of local athletes.
In addition, the Chinese government has been very active in upgrading the country’s antiquated telecommunication systems.
To this end, the Chinese government provided US$45 million of concessional loan to Zimbabwe to help NetOne, with the implementation of the telecommunications upgrade project. The money went towards the construction of 2G and 3G base stations nationwide, and enabled the mobile service provider to deploy 3G networks in Bulawayo and other key cities.
It is expected that, mobile phone users can also enjoy high-quality voice services and wireless Internet access in Harare by the end of this year.
In order to promote the development of tourism and aviation industry in Zimbabwe, in 2006, the Chinese government donated a Xinhang 60 (MA60) aircraft to Zimbabwe, which made up for the void of jets in Air Zimbabwe that ply the regional route.
The MA60 became the main aircraft that was servicing the domestic and regional routes in Zimbabwe.
The use of the MA60 increased the level of capacity in Air Zimbabwe, while at the same time increasing Air Zimbabwe’s saving on fuel costs. At its peak the MA60 carried 50 000 to 70 000 passengers annually accounting for 20 percent of the total number of passengers carried by Air Zimbabwe.
Still on aviation the Chinese government has availed a U$150 million concessional loan to Zimbabwe for the upgrading and expansion of Victoria Falls Airport.
The upgrading and expansion of the airport is expected to enhance tourism in the resort town which is a driving force to Zimbabwe tourism.
This will also help the country to successfully host the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly .
When the project is completed, the airport will have annual receiving capacity of two million people, and it can accommodate large aircrafts like Boeing 747, Airbus 340 and others. Currently, the airport — which was built in the 1960s —is only catering for small planes and has an annual receiving capacity of 500 000 people only.
Make people live happier
In order to increase Zimbabwean food production and the dissemination of advanced agricultural technology and planting experience, the Chinese government donated Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centres at Gwebi College of Agriculture located 30 km north from Harare.
The aim was to transfer the technology in agriculture and agricultural machinery through the training of local farmers, demonstrating cultivation skill and carrying out agronomy trials.
Since the centre started operating in March this year, 120 local agricultural staff received the training programme.
The Chinese government has also provided Zimbabwe with agricultural machinery and equipment in the forms of governmental aid and concessional loans in a total amount of US$80 million.
For better dissemination of agricultural technology and experience, the Chinese government sent 15 senior agricultural experts to Zimbabwe and in the second half of this year there will be another 10 Chinese senior agricultural experts coming to work in Zimbabwe.
There are currently five senior agricultural experts working in the Ministry of Agriculture and they are active throughout all the provinces in Zimbabwe.
Their brief is to look for ways to help local people to increase agricultural production and to help overcome challenges affecting agricultural development. To help Zimbabwean people to improve their health conditions, the Chinese government in 1996 assisted in the construction of the Chinhoyi Hospital, which is one of the major referral hospitals in Mashonaland West province.
Recently a new 129-bed hospital was constructed in Mahusekwa, near Marondera in Mashonaland East province with the aid of the Chinese government.
The construction of the hospital is now complete and what remains is its handover to the Zimbabwean Government.
The hospital is equipped with the most advanced medical equipment from China, and the construction standard is very high.
In a bid to help Zimbabwe address the challenges of safe drinking water and water for agricultural irrigation, the Chinese government drilled 39 wells in
Matabelaland province in 1996. During the same year the Chinese government built the Walley Dam with the storage capacity of 5,88 million cubic metres of water and it has been functioning well so far.
At present, the Chinese government is planning to drill 64 wells for rural dry areas in four provinces of Zimbabwe.
In terms of the education sector, China has been assisting with the construction of three primary schools and one secondary school, in Harare (two), Bindura and
Lupane region respectively. This is meant to help establish and improve the education system and facilities.
Such assistance will greatly reduce the burden of local government expenditure in education.
Hand-in-hand disaster fighting
The Chinese government has on five occasions provided emergency humanitarian food aid assistance to Zimbabwe through the provision of 16 500 tonnes of maize and 4 000 tonnes of soyabeans.
In November 2011, the Chinese government announced more than US$14 million in emergency food aid to Zimbabwe, which is the single largest amount of aid ever provided by Chinese government to a single country in the world. The aid in the in form of maize and rice is already in GMB storage, some of it has already been distributed to the needy while the remainder is awaiting distribution.
Besides providing food aid directly to Zimbabwe, in 2009, the Chinese government pledged US$5 million to the World Food Programme for the supply of 7 000 tonnes of maize to support Zimbabwe.
Such assistance effectively alleviated local food shortages, and passed the international humanitarian care from China to Zimbabwe.
The imparting of knowledge and technology
To date, the Chinese government has invited 2 000 of Zimbabwean officials and technical staff to China to participate in seminars and training courses in various fields such as economy, administration, health, education, environmental protection, etc.
The seminars and training courses have enhanced the level of communication between the peoples of the two countries.
This also introduces the experiences and lessons of China on economic and social development with its reform and opening up to the world to Zimbabweans, and fosters all kinds of talents for Zimbabwe.
Since 1985, China has seconded 12 medical teams from Hunan Province to render medical assistance in Zimbabwe. For 27 years, Chinese medical teams have completed in average annually the 1 100 cases of various types of surgery, 1 300 cases of anaesthesia, more than 6 000 CT and other X-ray reports, and over 10 000 cases of diagnosis and treatment of in-patients and outpatients annually. Chinese doctors are also involved in the training of local medical personnel, introducing the new technologies like the amputated limb to promote development of medical technology in Zimbabwe.
In addition, the Chinese medical teams have repeatedly gone into Zimbabwe’s remote rural areas to provide free clinic services to local people, and the donations to local orphanages, Aids treatment centres and other organisations, spreading the love from the Chinese health care workers to every corner of Zimbabwe. From the year 2007 and 2008, 15 Chinese volunteers were in the country on a one-year volunteer service in the fields of agriculture, Chinese language teaching, computer teaching, medical services and physical education teaching and others.
As the emissaries of the Chinese people, the volunteers not only taught skills and knowledge to the people of Zimbabwe, but also connected the Chinese and Zimbabwean lives and emotions to each other.
To protect the African homeland
Given the continuous improvement in Zimbabwe’s level of industrial and agricultural production, the Chinese government is also committed to helping Zimbabwe develop clean energy projects.
During the Fourth Ministerial Conference of Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, the Chinese government announced that it will build a number of clean energy projects for Africa.
In this regard the Chinese Government is planning to build small power, solar and biogas projects for Zimbabwe. These projects are actively being implemented now.
The Chinese government’s direction and goals in terms of development are guided by the theme “People in harmony with nature and the sustainable use of resources”.
Therefore, in order to protect the beautiful natural and ecological environment of Africa with economic development, China is willing to continue to help African countries with building new-energy projects, transferring new-energy technologies to Africa.
The Chinese Government has since 1980 completed 18 projects, undertaken 7 technical co-operation projects, provided more than 20 batch of goods at large and medium scale, provided 8 concessional loans and trained over 2 000 Zimbabweans.
These projects have been carried out with the good intention of the Chinese people to support their Zimbabwean counterparts in building a modern country.
The intention is for Zimbabweans to live a happy life that reflects the profound bilateral traditional friendship between China and Zimbabwe.
Today, under the framework of the China-Africa Co-operation Forum, the Chinese government, within its capacity, provides assistance to many African countries and Zimbabweans will continuously benefit.