TRADE between Zimbabwe and China reached $1,05 billion in the nine months to September and could far exceed the 2013 performance as economic ties keep growing. Zimbabwe’s imports amounted to $290 million while exports were $760 million, the Chinese embassy said yesterday. Last year, trade between the two nations reached $1,1 billion. Full trade statistics for the full year to December are yet to be released.
China, the world’s second largest economy after the United States, mainly imported tobacco while Zimbabwe largely imported chemicals, electrical goods and machinery.
“At $1,05 billion in September, and with three more remaining months to trade in 2014, it is most likely that trade between Zimbabwe and China far exceeded the $1,1 billion record reached in 2013,” an economist with a financial institution said.
Economic ties between the two countries have been growing after the Government adopted “Look East” policy in light of hostility from western countries.
On the investments, Zimbabwe has been one of the major recipients of Chinese capital, with over $1,3 billion having been invested into the country between 2009 and 2013. Last year, Zimbabwe and China signed several agreements that will see the Asian giant providing funds for bankable projects in various sectors including infrastructure.
China has already provided loans to fund various projects in energy, water and aviation.
Last year, the Government contracted Sino-Hydro to build two units at Hwange Thermal Power Station at a cost of $1,5 billion. The project will add 600 megawatts onto the grid. The same was also contracted to add two units at Kariba Hydro Power Station.
Some of the projects being financed and implemented by Chinese companies include the $150 million expansion of Victoria Falls airport and the rehabilitation of Harare Morton Jeffrey water plant at a cost of $144 million. The Chinese have also invested into private projects in sectors such as mining and telecommunications.
The Government signed a concessional loan agreement with China Exim Bank worth $218,9 million for Net One’s network expansion under the company’s Phase II Project. In addition, the Government is in negotiations with China Africa Sunlight Energy Company to secure a facility of $53 million to augment funding for construction of the Gwayi- Shangani Dam in Matabeleland. An MoU was signed between the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and CASECO, paving way for disbursement of the funds.
The agreement outlines the facility repayment arrangement, which entails CASECO’s future water consumption bill being off-set against the $53 million advance facility.
In line with the ZimAsset thrust towards empowering small scale miners, the Government entered into a $100 million facility agreement with Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group of China for provision of small scale mining equipment on credit.