China steps up cooperation with Zimbabwe
Harare (New Ziana) –China is stepping up its cooperation with Zimbabwe this year with more infrastructure development projects lined up while trade and economic collaboration will also be scaled up, Beijing’s representative in Harare said on Thursday.
Relations between Zimbabwe and China, which were upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2017, date back to the days of the war of liberation when Beijing provided material support and training to freedom fighters.
Currently, multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects, including the expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Station and the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport are being undertaken with Chinese support and funding.
In addition, China has been at the forefront of providing Covid-19 vaccines to Zimbabwe, through purchases and donations.
Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun told a media briefing that Chinese funded projects including the new Parliament building and the national pharmaceutical warehouse had been completed and would soon be handed over to the government.
Good progress was also being recorded at the Hwange thermal power station, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and phase 3 of Netone’s mobile broadband upgrade.
An additional 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines donated by China will arrive in Zimbabwe this year.
“China and Zimbabwe will achieve a bumper harvest of cooperation this year. More and more fruits are growing and ripening in China-Zimbabwe cooperation,” said Guo.
“Looking forward, more China-aid projects have been approved, such as drilling of another 300 boreholes in areas affected by Cyclone Idai, the second phase of the Zimbabwean Centre for High Performance computing, and Anti-Narcotics Laboratory.
“China is committed to supporting Zimbabwe’s development in various sectors under the framework of FOCAC, Belt and Road Initiative and South-South Cooperation. China-Zimbabwe cooperation will serve as boost for the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1 and the attainment of the 2030 vision of Zimbabwe.”
Guo denied claims that Zimbabwe was using its natural resources as collateral for Chinese funding.
“For more than half a century, China has been providing assistance for African countries. Never have we used it to ask African countries to cede their sovereignty, never have we compelled African countries to repay their debts with natural resources, never have we dictated fiscal or monetary changes as a precondition, never have we abused it by using democracy and human rights as excuses to interfere in the domestic affairs of the recipient countries,” he said.
Across the continent, governments have benefited immensely from co-operation with China on infrastructure development, with billions having gone into transport networks, energy, water, as well as health and educational institutions.
“The real threat to economic or financial security of developing countries is not healthy and sustainable funding support from China which is promoting local productivity. It is the financial dominance and self-centered monetary policies of some countries.
“To date, by putting various funds to use, Chinese companies have helped African countries build and upgrade over 10,000 kilometers of railways, around 100,000 kilometers of highways, almost 1000 bridges, nearly 100 ports and a lot of large-scale power plants, airports, hospitals and schools”