EDITOR – Zimbabwe’s Foreign Direct Investment has grown from US$60 million in 2009 to US$450 million in 2012, excluding direct investment from China which stands at US$600 million. This makes China the biggest single investor followed by South Africa. Is this a good thing?
Yes, if we are to judge by solely looking at the above. No, if we look at the trade flow between Zimbabwe and China, and between Zimbabwe and western countries. More than 80 percent of our exports are raw materials (raw cotton, tobacco, chrome, diamonds etc), the majority of which are going to China.
This is same as exporting jobs to China. That explains why as far as unemployment is concerned, we are at 85 percent. So China’s investment is going into agriculture, mining and infrastructure – for them to easily get raw materials. It’s not a sustainable arrangement. What do we get in return from China? We get cheap and low quality products that are competing out our local industries, and further triggering employment downwards. We are selling our sugar to western countries, as well as other finished products – not raw materials. Now, that’s keeping jobs in Zimbabwe.
In a nutshell, China won’t save Zimbabwe. Given time, it will kill Zimbabwe.