MOST of the multi-billion dollars projects signed between China and Zimbabwe have been put on hold as the “smart” Chinese are not keen on committing huge amounts of money because of Harare’s hostile policies, local economist Vince Musewe has said.
Source: ‘Chinese too smart for Mugabe govt’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 31, 2016
“Remember, the Chinese are very smart and they have a foot in the door in Africa. China has a strategy for Africa and yet Africa has no strategy for China. Zimbabwe is in that position too. It will take a long time for us to see the benefits of these mega deals,” he said.
A year after the historic visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Zimbabwe to officially witness the signing of various mega deals between the two countries, it has emerged that only two out of the 12 signed deals are underway.
“I think that nobody is prepared to commit huge amounts to Zimbabwe until we sort ourselves out. We are a means to an end for China and they will take their time to fully invest in Zimbabwe,” Musewe said.
More than a year after Xi’s much-vaunted visit, reports show that only two projects – the Kariba South Hydro Power Expansion project and the construction of a new $100 million Parliament in Mt Hampden – are underway with the Kariba project expected to be completed soon.
However, the future of the other projects remains uncertain due to a number of factors, including the reluctance of some Chinese financial institutions to be guarantors of the loans as President Robert Mugabe’s government already owes millions of dollars in unserviced loans.
According to government reports, the expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Station has been put on hold as the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) – who are the guarantors of the loan – will not commit until Zimbabwe settles the $50 million debt it owes the company from previous arrangements.
The expansion of the power station’s units 7 and 8 at a cost of $1,4 billion was expected to have kicked off in the second half of 2016.
Records also show that the $98 million TelOne Fibre Optic Broadband project that was expected to start during the second half of 2016 has been delayed with the equipment still in China, while the paperwork for the project has not been completed.
The expansion is part of TelOne’s modernisation plan of the parastatal’s entire network across the country.
Other projects that were expected to kick off in 2016, but have also been shelved are: the construction of a national pharmaceutical warehouse (NatPharm), the development of the railway and aviation transport system, exploration of coal and methane gas in Gwayi and a private business venture between AVM Africa and Beijing Automobile Assembly.
However, Musewe said the implementation of these projects were in doubt as the Chinese viewed Zimbabwe as an unstable country.
“This government has failed to plan and implement developmental projects which benefit the country. Corruption and patronage drive our economic activity and that is not about to change as long as Zanu PF is in power,” he said.
Musewe said the Chinese were also withholding their investments following Harare’s seizure of all diamond mining claims in Chiadzwa, including those owned by a Chinese company, Anjin Investments.
The government had claimed that the landmark Sino-Zim deals were part of its provisions of converting its economic blueprint, ZimAsset, into programmes of action including the creation of 2,2 million jobs.
New Zimbabwe reported recently how Mugabe shot down a request by the Chinese for government to relax its indigenisation laws and grant them a huge stake in the Kamativi Tin Mine venture.
According to Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa, the $100m deal had been delayed because the Chinese wanted a 65% stake in the Kamativi revival project.