HARARE, WASHINGTON —
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai today held bilateral talks with the visiting Chinese vice premier, Wang Yang, which centered on trade between the two countries as well as the political situation in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Tsvangirai told the Chinese vice premier that a new government that will be elected in fresh elections expected to be held this year will continue to engage the Chinese to boost trade between the two countries.
Mr. Wang, who spoke through an interpreter, praised the Southern African Development Community, especially South Africa, for ensuring there is peace and stability in Zimbabwe following the bloody 2008 elections.
He said peace in Zimbabwe is key to boosting investor confidence.
Mr. Wang said trade between Harare and Beijing increased following Mr. Tsvangirai’s visit to China last year.
He said China would continue investing in Africa, especially in Zimbabwe, creating employment for many Zimbabweans.
However, Mr. Tsvangirai said Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe should respect the country’s labour practices.
Over the past few years, some Chinese companies in Zimbabwe have been accused of not paying their employees but no action has been taken by the authorities.
Mr. Wang also met Vice President Joice Mujuru at a meeting where two memorandums of agreement were signed between the two countries.
Under the two agreements China will provide a $16 million grant and an interest free loan, also worth $16 million. The loan is payable over five years.
Zimbabwe and China also exchanged three acceptance letters for economic and technical cooperation for the drilling of 136 boreholes and another for a feasibility study to drill another 300 boreholes.
Water Resources and Infrastructural Development Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo signed the agreements on behalf of the government.
VOA’s Sithandekile Mhlanga speaks with water resources minister Sam Siphepha Nkomo, one of the signatories to the agreements.