HARARE, Dec 9 (NNN-NEW ZIANA) — Zimbabwe and China have signed four agreements which will see massive investments in the country in the areas of construction and mining.
Zimbabwean officials from the Ministries of Transport and Infrastructure Development and Mines and Mining Development signed the agreements with representatives of the Sino-Zimbabwe Development Company and the China International Fund here Monday.
Areas covered in the four agreements include construction of the Harare International
Airport runway and taxiway, Harare-Chitungwiza railway line as well as electrification and installation of signalling equipment on the Harare-Gweru railway line.
The Sino-Zimbabwe Development Company will construct the airport runway and taxiway at Harare International Airport as well as install lighting systems at an estimated cost of 40 million USD.
The Chinese company will also construct the 25-km Harare-Chitungwiza railway which has been on the drawing board for many years and which is touted as the panacea to transport woes of the residents in the dormitory town.
It will also re-electrify and install signalling equipment on the Harare-Gweru railway line.
Theft of electricity cables on the railway stretch over the past few years resulted in the National Railways of Zimbabwe failing to operate more than 15 electric locomotives that it used to carry heavy loads between the two cities.
Meanwhile, China International Fund will invest at least 90 million USD in working capital and partner the Zimbabwean government to exploit gold at the Conemara Mine as well as set up a centre for purchasing diamonds at the Marange Diamond fields in Manicaland.
The Chinese are expected to deposit at least 10 million USD within the next three days, for use in carrying out due diligence activities, with the rest to be invested as work on the ground progresses.
Mines and Mining Development Ministry Permanent Secretary Thankful Musukutwa signed the agreements with China International Fund,while Transport and Infrastructure Development Ministry Acting Permanent Secretary Nelson Kudenga signed the pact with with the Sino-Zimbabwe Development Company.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, said the deals were an indication of the deepening economic co-operation between the two countries.
“It is a moment of true co-operation on a win-win basis,” said Dr Sibanda, who commended the Chinese for showing confidence in Zimbabwe by taking the risk to invest in the economy which was still grappling with the crippling effects of sanctions that some Western countries imposed.
He called on the countries that imposed the sanctions to lift them immediately and allow Zimbabwe’s inclusive government to implement programmes which would take the country out of the economic meltdown it went through over the past decade.
“We continue to call on those that imposed illegal sanctions to express their sincerity to join the bandwagon by immediately lifting them,? he said.
Dr Sibanda assured investors that the Zimbabwe government would continue to make the environment conducive by addressing pertinent issues they might have as it stood ready to strengthen relationships with countries in the East and the wider international community.
He noted that the Chinese had expressed interest in investing in other areas and negotiations were underway, with agreements expected soon.
Speaking at the same occasion, a representative of the China International Fund said the agreements were based on the spirit of South-South Co-operation and mutual benefit.
“It is also a demonstration of the friendship between China and the people of Zimbabwe,” he added. “We believe we can co-operate in more fields and more projects.”
Following imposition of sanctions by Western countries, the Zimbabwe government adopted a deliberate policy to establish new markets in the East dubbed the Look East Policy.
The policy has started to bear fruit with the country receiving investments and financial assistance in various economic sectors including agriculture, transport and Information Communication Technology from countries such as China, India, Iran and Malaysia.A fortnight ago the government signed five other agreements worth 8.0 billion USD with another Chinese company for gold production. — NNN-NEW ZIANA