President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwean and Chinese business people should take maximum advantage of the improved relations between the two countries and foster comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnerships for win-win outcomes.
Cde Mnangagwa said this while officially opening the Zimbabwe-China Business Forum in Harare this Monday morning.
He explained to the over 60 representatives of Chinese companies and Zimbabwean captains of industry and commerce that the Zimbabwean economy due to its strategic location, could benefit immensely from President Xi Jingping’s belt road initiative, an ambitious vision for economic development and industrialisation running across Asia, Africa and Europe.
“In this regard, I exhort prospective local and foreign investors to take advantage of this strategic location by developing a comprehensive network of rail, road, air and ICT infrastructure. The government further invites investment in energy, water and sanitation infrastructure. These enablers will be beneficial not only to Zimbabwe but will equally contribute towards the quest for industrialisation, regional integration and global connectivity,” he said.
Cde Mnangagwa further outlined other areas with investment opportunities including manufacturing where retooling is urgently required due to years of limited affordable long term financing and credit lines.
The President also expressed the government’s commitment to create a condusive environment for foreign investments and protection of property to further strengthen bilateral co-operation under the new relationship between China and Zimbabwe.
He also spoke of the country’s thrust to participate in the establishment of special economic zones, adding that work is underway to establish a one stop centre for investment facilitation and promotion, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority.
“The government is ready to facilitate the development of an integrated industrial zone for a Chinese company that has expressed interest in doing so under the special economic zones framework,” Cde Mnangagwa said, imploring the relevant ministries to ensure the urgent gazetting of the comprehensive incentives package which apply within special economic zones.
The holding of the Zimbabwe China Business Forum is a follow up to President Mnangagwa’s visit to China in April this year.
Several government ministers and officials attended the opening ceremony of the business forum.
These included Retired Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo (Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Cde Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri (Minister of Environment, Water and Climate), Cde Prisca Mupfumira (Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Mr Winston Chitando (Minister of Mines and Mining Development), Dr Christopher Mushohwe (Minister of Scholarships in the President’s Office), Cde Miriam Chikukwa (Minister of State for Harare Province), Dr John Mangudya (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor) and the Special Advisor in the President’s Office, Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Signing of deals
Zimbabwe and China have signed agreements for the implementation of several deals in various economic and social sectors.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by President Mnangagwa and the head of the visiting Zhejiang delegation, Mr Che Jun.
The first agreement for the socio-economic cooperation between Harare and Zhejiang provinces was signed by Minister Chikukwa and the visiting Director of Zhejiang Provincial Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Department, Mr Jin Yong Hui.
The Ministry of Scholarships in the President’s Office also received a shot in the arm to the tune of US$1 million for students to pursue education in specific areas from Zhejiang universities.
An agreement was also signed with Cde Mutsvangwa and his company, Afrosheen.
Another agreement for stainless steel production was also sealed at the occasion with Minister Chitando appending his signature.
Foreign Affairs and International Development Minister, Dr Sibusiso Moyo commended the agreements, saying the conclusion of these agreements is a major milestone in further cementing China – Zimbabwe ties.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Huang Ping urged Zimbabwean business people to use every opportunity to benefit from the coming China-Africa Summit set for October.
From Harare, the Chinese proceeds to Victoria Falls which is earmarked for the establishment of a special economic zone for tourism and finance services.