via Mega deals: Chinese experts jet in | The Herald August 4, 2015 by Nyemudzai Kakore
A team of Chinese experts is here to evaluate each of the mega deals signed by President Mugabe when he visited the Asian country on a State visit last year to enable the financing of the projects to start.
Once the finances involved are known, implementation of the deals is expected to start at least before year end, according to targets the Chinese team will set in week-long discussions with its Zimbabwean counterparts beginning today.
The team from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), led by Dr Liu Xianxing, will meet top Government officials to come up with the actual value of the deals.
The team also includes Chinese Vice Minister Dong Shongshen.
The actual value of the projects would be known by Friday when a memorandum of understanding on the financial side of the deals would be signed.
President Mugabe will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the China-Africa Forum in December and by that time more progress should have been registered on the mega deals.
Speaking at a welcome reception for the team in Harare yesterday, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said the Chinese team’s working visit was crucial to the mega deals and would strengthen the economic ties between China and Zimbabwe.
“Your working visit is intended to further strengthen the economic cooperation between our two countries and people, more particularly in support of the attainment of the objectives of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation, (Zim-Asset),” said Dr Sibanda.
“The main import of your working visit is to assist us to translate the many projects and deals signed between our two countries into bankability and concretisation at the shortest possible time through transfer of critical skills and provision of advisory support services in the various sectors of the economy.
“It is hoped that such training and capacitation will facilitate the unlocking of financing mechanisms for the critical deals that have been agreed between our two countries.”
Dr Sibanda said a team of 30 officials drawn from different ministries in Zimbabwe, the private sector, selected public enterprises as well as research centres and universities had been selected to debate and concretise the mega deals.
“It has been agreed that eight projects by Friday will be signed and these projects are going to be implemented within one year covering areas especially of the economic zones,” he said.
“We have also profiled a number of projects to be used during this training workshop so that the building of internal project feasibility capacity is anchored on practical reality.
“Such projects are drawn from key sectors covered in the Zim-Asset economic blueprint such as roads and railways, energy and power, tourism, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, constructioin, water, small and medium enterprises development, information communication technology, value addition and beneficiation, among others.
“It is hoped from these prjects that key national projects will be eventually selected and ready for promotion to investors in China through the assistance of the NDRC.”
Dr Sibanda said the visit by the Chinese team indicates that the Government is committed to transforming the economy to higher levels.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was in China last month where he signed more MOUs on the deals in the ambit of the mega deals signed by President Mugabe.
In his speech at the reception, Dr Liu said by the end of this year, work would start on many of the mega deals.
He said the discussions would set up priority projects and collect information on them, and a list of local laws and legal environment would be set up.
“We hope the reserach and discusssions done with the President’s Office, priority co-operation fields can be set and a platform connecting companies, governments and financial institutions of both sides can be created,” said Dr Liu.
“Explorations on new development modes, financing for key projects and investments exemplary projects will be started as well.”
Dr Liu said the meetings would also discuss possible investment and financing channels for the projects and the possibility of the Chinese currency RMB loans and circulation.
He said funds would be sought to support the training of Government officials and technical personnel.
“Sucessful experience on macro-economic management, economic planning and industrial development will be shared,” said Dr Liu.
“The International Co-operation Centre plans to provide one million RMB to fund training of ministers level officials of mining, manufacturing and tourism in Zimbabwe each year.”
The mega deals signed by President Mugabe are expected to transform Zimbabwe’s economy and create more employment.
They were signed as part of Zim-Asset programme that was crafted to provide solutions to problems facing the economy that rose due to illegal sanctions imposed by Western countries.