Tawanda Musarurwa recently in BEIJING, China
President Mnangagwa on Wednesday met with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping after the conclusion of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the two leaders signed fresh agreements.
Sources close to the meeting said the Chinese President called for continuation of stronger political trust, cooperation and exchanges of governance experiences of the ruling parties.
President Mnangagwa’s high-powered, closed-door bilateral engagement with President Xi resulted in the signing of three significant agreements.
In an interview, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo outlined the three agreements.
“The meeting between the two heads of state was very cordial. It was not surprising that the actual outcomes of the meeting were positive in a manner that will propel the economy of this country to greater heights,” said Dr Moyo.
“FOCAC 2018 coincided with Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 and it was not surprising that we experienced a positive result.
“Having done that, there were of course other side agreements which were done yesterday (Wednesday). The first agreement was that of immigration and that agreement was meant to have the possibility and provide a framework of exchanging prisoners who would have committed offences on either side,” he said.
“The second agreement was to do with the commitment by the Chinese side to import citrus fruits from Zimbabwe.
“The obligation will obviously remain with our producers here in Zimbabwe to be able to generate adequate produce which should satisfy the demand of China. One of the issues that was discussed was a possibility of reverse investment integration, where the market itself, which is the Chinese, would come back here and support the producers in order to create capacity of products to be exported to China. We already have the precedence of contract farming in the tobacco sector,” said Minister Moyo.
“The last agreement was that of 500 boreholes which were donated by the Chinese Government and these boreholes are meant to supplement water to areas which are experiencing a deficiency. We have had previous support of around 300 boreholes and now they have added 500 boreholes.”
During the course of the five-day visit to China, President Mnangagwa attended FOCAC, where a number of initiatives to enhance China-Africa partnership and cooperation were announced, including a $60 billion concessionary facility for African countries.
The $60 billion facility will see China implement eight major projects with African countries in the next three years and beyond, covering fields such as industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation and green development.
President Mnangagwa also met a number of Chinese company representatives that expressed interest to investing in Zimbabwe.
Besides the hugely successful bilateral meetings, Zimbabwe stands in good stead to benefit from the $60 billion facility.
In a meeting with the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, which is considered China’s top legislative body, Mr Li Zhanshu on Wednesday evening, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would benefit significantly from the $60 billion in view of the bankable projects that the Zimbabwean Government has already lined up for funding.
“We have several projects that we have put forward and this time around, we have bankable projects which meet the criteria for assessment by China,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was committed to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as it will help the country achieve its goal of a middle-income economy by 2030.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa and his delegation arrived back home yesterday morning, and was welcomed at Robert Mugabe International Airport by Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Cde Kembo Mohadi, as well as service chiefs and senior Government officials.