H.E. Ambassador Guo Shaochun
In 2022, some of the biggest fruits of China-Zimbabwe cooperation will be ready for picking, as Zimbabwe’s new parliament building and national pharmaceutical warehouse built with Chinese grants are only months away from completion of construction and handover.
The new parliament building, the largest China-aid project in Southern Africa, will have far-reaching implications for the nation politically and economically.
It will completely change for the better the physical conditions in which the will of the Zimbabwean public is exercised. It will provide state-of-the-art facilities for Zimbabwe to host large international conferences. And it is to be a hot spot around which a boom of infrastructure construction and commercial activities will emerge in the outskirts of Harare.
In the new national pharmaceutical warehouse, medicines will be stored and managed in much better conditions and spacious rooms. The health of ordinary Zimbabweans will be better guaranteed.
While the global pandemic cast a shadow on the progress of their engineering work, the teams from China and Zimbabwe have persevered nonetheless.
The projects are a testimony to the diligence and grit of our two nations, our profound friendship dating back to the days of Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence, and the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation.
More fruits are growing and ripening in China-Zimbabwe cooperation. China is committed to supporting Zimbabwe’s development in various sectors under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and South-South Cooperation.
On infrastructure, we are seeing good progress at the Hwange thermal power station expansion, RGM International Airport expansion and phase III of Netone’s mobile broadband upgrade. These infrastructure projects are critical growth enablers that will generate value many times that of the project input.
On medical and health programs, China will donate another 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines this year, taking Zimbabwe closer towards herd immunity.
There will be more interaction in the partnership between the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and its counterpart in China. The Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture Center will be better resourced to serve the local population. More local patients will be able to get help from the 19th batch of Chinese medical team in Zimbabwe.
Women and children, among nearly two million Zimbabweans, will be given access to medical and health care services under a joint initiative between China and UNICEF that the Chinese government sponsors through its South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF).
On agriculture and poverty reduction, we have signed Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Zimbabwean Fresh Citrus to China. The Zimbabwean farmers will benefit. Local communities and farmers will enjoy better incomes as they learn more farming techniques from the Chinese agricultural experts based in Zimbabwe under a “demonstration village” program.
On foreign investment, construction of Dinson Iron and Steel Company owned by Tsingshan is well on track. Considerable tax revenues and foreign currency earnings and many local jobs are set to be generated by the investment of leading Chinese companies in the lithium sector. This goes a long way towards helping Zimbabwe reach the goal of a US$12 billion mining sector by 2023. The positive effects will spread into the general economy.
Forty-two years into its independence, Zimbabwe is growing in more sectors and regions, bring about an exciting 7.4% growth in 2021, a strong cause for celebration.
Forty-two years into our diplomatic ties, China is proud of its consistent support for Zimbabwe’s economic and social progress through concrete actions and visible, verifiable results.
We will remain Zimbabwe’s reliable friend and partner in its implementation of NDS1 and the attainment of Vision 2030, so that the nation realizes development that “leaves no one and no place behind as H.E. President E.D. Mnangagwa has eloquently articulated. The Chinese people continue to stand with our Zimbabwean friends on their sovereign path of development and in their struggles to free Zimbabwe from illegal sanctions and external interference.
Beginning in 2022, with the nine FOCAC programs moving forward and the NDS1 advancing, China-Zimbabwe comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation will grow deeper and broader and yield more fruits. More “harvest years” are beckoning. China-Zimbabwe partnership will energize the nation towards becoming an upper-middle income economy by 2030.
***article first appeared in the Daily News