via Chinese mega projects to be launched by December | The Herald August 8, 2015 by Lloyd Gumbo
All the multi-billion dollar projects that Chinese investors have accepted to fund in Zimbabwe will be launched by December this year. President Mugabe signed the mega-deals with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping when he went to China on a State visit last year. Experts from both countries working on the modalities of the projects are now working with specific timelines to ensure implementation of the projects start in earnest.
Chinese experts, under the auspices of the National Development and Reform Commission who met President Mugabe on Thursday also met Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday where specific timelines were spelt out.
Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa who was in the meeting yesterday said the Chinese delegation expressed its readiness to get the ball rolling.
“There are about 13 to 20 mega projects that would have been launched by end of the year,” he said.
“The team is now working with a tight schedule with specific timelines because what they were waiting for was the go-ahead from the Government of Zimbabwe. President Mugabe has already approved the priority projects. The team is now fine tuning the details before presenting to the Chinese investment community.
“For most of these projects, scores of global Chinese companies are already in the country working with their counterparts on feasibility studies.
“Some of the companies have already opened offices here including the Chinese Investment Bank not the commercial bank. This is the bank that will channel funding through the Chinese financial system.”
Minister Mutsvangwa who is a former ambassador to China said Chinese investors viewed Zimbabwe as a viable investment destination despite the negative onslaught from Western media.
He said they did not see any geographical and political risk in Zimbabwe, which is a major factor in attracting investment.
He said contrary to the Bretton Woods institutions’ conditions, the Chinese investment was purely business driven.
“When VP Mnangagwa was in China, he was shown a map of the projects that the Chinese want to construct here, for instance, the railway line.
“The International Monetary Fund is not a business organisation, but just a debt management agency. When you get funding from the IMF, it requires guarantees from the Government and when you don’t perform you are then told to go for austerity measures.
“Funding from the IMF is limited. The biggest funding is in the form of international private capital which Chinese companies are ready to bring here.
“Chinese investors have concluded that there is a strong business case for Zimbabwe. They see Harare as Africa’s next growth tale. They want to go ahead of the pack now,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
He said China also wanted trade between the two countries to be done in Chinese currency Yuan to avoid the use of third party currencies that were expensive.
He said South Africa and China already swopped currencies in their trade which was favourable to both countries.
VP Mnangagwa also met with Angolan ambassador to Zimbabwe Pedro Hendrik Vaal Neto who also encouraged Zimbabwe to embrace Chinese investors.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Ambassador Neto said the two countries had close relations and would continue to strengthen them.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa, who also attended the meeting, said the Angolan ambassador was encouraging Zimbabwe to embrace the Chinese with both hands given the development Luanda experienced after engaging China.
“They want us to see post-war recovery and the development agenda that has happened in that country since they engaged the Chinese,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.
“Their economy was devastated by the war while ours was devastated by sanctions. So they are saying to Zimbabwe ‘don’t listen to the propaganda that China is a colonial power’. They want Zimbabwe to come and feel the comfort of a friend who has walked with China.
“China, in this short period, has invested at least $220 billion in Africa while America which used to be the lead investor in Africa is now at $88 billion and the whole of the European Union is at $146 billion.”