CHINA and Zimbabwe signed nine bilateral cooperation agreements during President Robert Mugabe’s recent state visit to China, as the two countries strengthened economic and political relations, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Lin Lin told Xinhua Tuesday.
Lin said Mugabe’s visit from Aug. 24 to Aug. 28 was successful and fruitful in promoting mutual political trust and pragmatic cooperation, and China was ready to work together with Zimbabwe to promote the comprehensive and in-depth development of the bilateral relations to further benefit the peoples of both countries.
Mugabe’s visit was preceded by the two sides holding the ninth session of the Joint Commission on Economic, Technical and Trade Cooperation in Beijing.
The bilateral cooperation documents covered the fields of telecommunications, infrastructure financing, food donation, tourism, and student exchange programs.
Under one of the deals, the Export and Import Bank of China, or China Eximbank, will provide a 218-million-U.S.-dollar concessional loan to fund network upgrading of Zimbabwe’s state- owned telecom firm NetOne, one of the three mobile phone operators in Zimbabwe.
The China Eximbank and China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation also signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with the Zimbabwean government. The MoUs will enable Chinese financial institutions to fund viable projects in Zimbabwe, the ambassador said.
Lin added that some Chinese companies also signed tentative cooperation agreements with relevant Zimbabwean institutions and companies, which is an indispensable step of the cooperation laying a solid foundation for concrete cooperation in the future, citing the project joint development concerning the Gwayi Coal- Power Integrated Project in Matabeleland North province.
The project is eyed by a Chinese private company with estimated investment mounting to 2 billion U.S. dollars, according to media reports.
Lin said China would also provide Zimbabwe a non-reimbursable emergency food donation.
Although Zimbabwe received generally good rains during the last agricultural season, resulting in the best harvest in five years, some areas did not have good yields either because of shortages of inputs or erratic rains.
Lin added that as Chinese President Xi Jinping had said the Chinese side supported Zimbabwe’s efforts to develop the economy and improve people’s livelihood, and would continue to cultivate construction talents for Zimbabwe.Advertisement
He said China was ready to take part in the construction of Zimbabwe’s special economic zones and industrial parks, to enable them to play a leading role in the cooperation in infrastructure construction, mining industry, manufacturing and other fields, and will encourage more Chinese companies to invest in Zimbabwe.
On its part, Zimbabwe hoped to strengthen cooperation with China and constantly advance the bilateral relations in the new era.
To facilitate people-to-people exchanges and human resources training, the two sides signed an MoU on mutual visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and service passports, and another on cooperation in the tourism.
The Chinese side also committed to fairly increase the number of Chinese government scholarships for Zimbabwean students.