Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi is in Zimbabwe on a three-day business visit in a nation where Chinese companies and government have invested huge sums of money in various sectors.
Wang Yi, who arrived in the country Saturday, is expected to hold bilateral talks with top Zimbabwean government officials and directors of quasi-government firms in which the Chinese have business interests.
According to the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper, Wang Yi was dispatched on a business mission by Chinese President Xi Jingping to strengthen relations between China, Zimbabwe and other African countries.
The Chinese government has invested billions of dollars in Africa in various sectors, including agriculture, mining and manufacturing. Wang Yi recently visited Egpyt, Djibouti, Eritrea and Rwanda, where the Chinese government has facilitated the opening of several projects.
Critics in Zimbabwe say the so-called mega deals signed by China and Zimbabwe’s late former president Robert Mugabe and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, are not benefiting local people.
Independent economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said, “China is using its strong financial muscle to buy friendship in Africa. China does this by pouring a lot of money in African countries on infrastructural projects. For example in Zimbabwe China has done this by pouring millions of dollars in building a new parliament. What’s problematic is that most projects that are implemented by Chinese companies in Africa, including Zimbabwe, appear to be successful while those that are handled by governments are a complete disaster due to rampant corruption on the African continent especially among African leaders and their colleagues.”
He says most projects that are implemented by Chinese companies in Africa, including Zimbabwe, appear to be successful while those that are handled by governments “are a complete disaster due to rampant corruption on the African continent especially among African leaders and their colleagues.”
But Bulilima West Zanu PF Member of Parliament, Dingumuzi Phuthi, says the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister’s visit to Zimbabwe is an indication that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is trustworthy in terms of ease of doing business.
“It is a very commendable gesture that has been done by China that the president Xi Jingping has decided to send such a high profile to come (to Zimbabwe) and one, to follow up on the mega deals that Zimbabwe and China embarked on, secondly, to strengthen diplomatic relations between these countries, number three, strengthen the trade between and related issues between Zimbabwe and China and number four, we know very well that it is important that any country that has embarked on a robust engagement thrust as ourselves, to see that engagement being reciprocal, it is a very good sign that this reciprocity is bearing a testimonial that indeed Zimbabwe and China have been together and are still together.”
The Chinese have invested US$1,1 billion in the Hwange power expansion project, US$100 million in building a new parliament in Harare and an estimated US$153 million in refurbishing the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and poured in millions of dollars in the diamond mining industry in Zimbabwe.