ZIMBABWE has been listed as one of the 18 African countries which China will prioritise in terms of investment and co-operation, a senior official from the Asian economic giant’s National Development and Reform Commission has said.NDRC deputy secretary general Dr Fan Hengshan said China has also put Zimbabwe into the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which outlines new areas for co-operation with the world.
“National Development and Reform Commission (China) ranks Zimbabwe in the top six out of 18 Africa countries. We have also put Zimbabwe into the One Belt, One Road initiative,” he said.
The OBOR initiative emphasises five areas of co-operation namely co-ordinating development policies; forging infrastructure and facilities networks; strengthening investment and trade relations, enhancing financial co-operation; and deepening social and cultural exchanges with China.
Dr Hengshan told a production capacity and investment forum organised by The Office of the President and Cabinet in Harare yesterday that China is closely studying policies and requirements of Zimbabwe for cooperation under the OBOR initiative.
He pointed out that China has already started close cooperation and making arrangements with central Government and Local authorities for implementation of investments starting with Special Economic Zones.
Since Saturday, NDRC has been leading a huge Chinese delegation comprising officials from the reform and development Commission and several large scale Chinese firms. The delegation was made up of firms from Gansu Province.
The latest visit follows the visit by Chinese President Jin Ping last year with several meetings having already been held to promote a trade and investment.
The meetings also resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding signed between NDRC and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for promotion and development of Sunway City SEZ and other areas.
The Chinese companies, which were part of the delegation led by NDRC, operate in various sectors of the economy including mining, agriculture, construction, tourism and mining.
To that end, Mr Hangshen said that the NDRC and China Development Bank are in the process of studying the feasibility of extending funding support to Special Economic Zones in Zimbabwe, starting with Sunway City and Victoria Falls SEZs.
China’s NDRC urged Zimbabwe to look into other policy issues that include the business climate, taxation, indigenisation and other technical issues to attract more investment from China, especially into special economic zone.