The implementation of Zim-Asset received a major boost and fresh impetus yesterday following the signing of 12 landmark agreements between Zimbabwe and China to fund vital projects in key economic sectors. Zim-Asset is the Government’s five-year economic blueprint targeting the creation of 2.2 million jobs, among other deliverables, by 2018. Two of the deals are private sector-driven.
The signing of the new agreements, which cover key sectors such as infrastructure, telecommunications and energy, was witnessed by Heads of State and Government of the two countries, President Robert Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
President Xi is on a two-day State visit to Zimbabwe leading a delegation of 200 people, including Cabinet ministers, bankers and representatives from the Communist Party of China. This followed President Mugabe’s successful 13th State visit to China in August last year, where another set of nine mega deals was signed with the world’s second largest economy after the US.
Some of the deals are at various stages of implementation. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa penned four agreements on behalf of Zimbabwe with the first one being an economic and technical cooperation agreement with China. 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.
Earlier on, President Mugabe had described China as Zimbabwe’s best friend at international level. He said the relationship between the two countries was not premised on the fact that China was a rich country, but that the Chinese were people of action. President Mugabe chronicled the important role that China played during the Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle by providing military and technical support.