Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
China has committed to fund the implementation of several projects here as relations between Harare and Beijing continue to flourish to greater heights, President Mugabe has said. The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, who was in high spirits, revealed this last night soon after landing at the Harare International Airport from his annual leave in the Far East.
President Mugabe, who was accompanied by First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, was welcomed by his two deputies Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet ministers Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence), Ignatius Chombo (Home Affairs), Chris Mushohwe (Information, Media and Broadcasting Services), Harare Metropolitan Minister of State Miriam Chikukwa, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr George Charamba, and service chiefs.
President Mugabe took time to reflect on his vacation, which was interspaced with official business, which saw him meeting President Xi JInping and attending the France-Africa Summit in Mali.
Said President Mugabe: “We were on vacation, but we used it during our stay in China to meet our brother and friend President Xi Jinping to discuss our programmes here and to inform him on the progress we have made; the progress we have not made; the need we still have for China to fund some of the projects, which need funding, but it was a fruitful stay, and as usual of course President Xi Jinping said they will help us as much as possible.”
During his two-day State visit here in 2015, President Xi and President Mugabe oversaw the signing of 12 landmark deals cutting across all sectors of the economy.
President Xi’s visit to Zimbabwe followed President Mugabe’s visit to Beijing in 2014 where a number of economic deals were also signed. The exchange visits by the two Heads of State and Government have seen Chinese firms going into partnership and joint ventures with local companies as part of efforts to turn around the economy.
The deals are at various stages of implementation and fit in well with the objectives of the country’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).
During President Xi’s visit here, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa penned four agreements on behalf of Zimbabwe with the first one being an economic and technical co-operation agreement with China, while Chinese Minister of Commerce Mr Gao Hucheng signed on behalf of his country. The two also signed an agreement on avoidance of double taxation.
Minister Chinamasa signed two loan agreements for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station and TelOne’s fibre optic project with the chairperson of the China Eximbank, Ms Hu Xiaolian.
On the Hwange Power Station expansion, the Zimbabwe Power Company, represented by its managing director Engineer Noah Gwariro and Sinohydro represented by the chairman of its parent company Power China, Mr Yan Zhiyong, signed a cooperation agreement on Hwange 7 and 8 project.
The expansion project at Hwange, which is now at an advanced stage will see Sinohydro adding two units with a capacity of 600 MW.
Mr Gao signed four more deals on aviation cooperation with Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joram Gumbo and construction of a national pharmaceutical warehouse with Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa.
He also signed a handover and acceptance of certificate on the donation of equipment for wildlife protection in Zimbabwe with Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri and an agreement on the exchange of notes for the construction of a new Parliament Building with Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Policy Coordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures in the President’s Office Minister Simon Khaya Moyo signed an agreement with the chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission chairperson Mr Xu Shaoshi on enhancement of investment.
Two more private sector agreements were also signed between the International Business of China and China Africa Sunlight Energy on the development of coal and methane gas mines, as well as the establishment of 600 MW thermal power station in Gwayi. The other agreement was between AVM Africa Limited and Beijing Automobile Assembly.