High-powered team for China President Mnangagwa bids farewell to his two deputies General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) (left) and Kembo Mohadi at the Robert Mugabe International Airport before departing for China yesterday. On the right is First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa. - Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa is leading a delegation of 10 Cabinet ministers and about 80 private sector business executives to China as his administration seeks to unlock opportunities and bolster efforts to turn around the economy.

The President and his delegation left for Beijing, China, yesterday to spread the news that Zimbabwe is now open for business.

Zimbabwe and China enjoy cordial relations dating back to the days of the liberation struggle.

The high-powered engagement has been preceded by Economic Joint Commission meetings between officials from the two countries held in Beijing last Thursday and followed by a meeting of ministers chaired by Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo (Retired) and his Chinese counterpart yesterday.

In an interview from Beijing yesterday, Lt-Gen Moyo said President Mnangagwa was travelling with several business executives from the private sector since they were the anchor of the country’s economy.

He described the trip as a milestone that will further reinforce relations between Zimbabwe and China.

“His Excellency, the President will be accompanied by about 10 ministers and various officials and the private sector. Remember the thrust is that the Government is there to provide appropriate business environment and the private sector is the foot soldier and in that regard there are 77 business people to attend several meetings that have been lined up here by Chinese people for them to interact,” said Rtd Lt- Gen Moyo.

He said President Mnangagwa’s trip to China was significant in many ways.

“It is very significant because this is the first State visit by His Excellency outside Africa and it is not by coincidence but by design because of the bilateral relationship between the two countries. The objective is primarily to deepen relationship between the two nations and, above all, to concretise and revitalise economic co-operation between the two countries,” said Rtd Lt-Gen Moyo.

He said the visit was at the invitation of Chinese leader President Xi Jinping and Zimbabwe felt indebted not only to the leadership in Beijing but the people of China for the support that they had shown to Zimbabwe.

“The visit has also been preceded by a Joint Commission of the two countries on March 29 2018 attended by officials in Beijing which was followed by a meeting of ministers which I chaired with my Chinese counterpart,” he said.

“Several deals would be signed aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two countries,” said Rtd Lt-Gen Moyo.

“There would be significant concretisation of cooperation in the form of several deals which I cannot divulge at the moment,” he said.

President Mnangagwa is also expected to hold meetings with senior Communist Party of China officials.

The Chinese Embassy in Harare indicated last Friday that the engagement would culminate in the announcement of a “huge package” to advance President Mnangagwa’s development agenda.

President Mnangagwa paid tribute to China which stood with Zimbabwe alongside Russia at the United Nations Security Council as the two countries vetoed a motion by the United States aimed at getting the UN to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Some of the projects China is implementing include the construction of a new Parliament of Zimbabwe building and a pharmaceutical warehouse, among other projects.

Chinese contractors recently completed work on the expansion of the Kariba South Power Station, which saw an additional 300MW being added to the national grid.

Vice President General Constantino  Nyikadzino Guvheya Chiwenga (Rtd) is the Acting President

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