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Dynamic role model


China-Zimbabwe trajectory of cooperation is based on a shared future of prosperity

Under the framework of Africa-China cooperation, Zimbabwe-China ties are a microcosmic exposition of the mutual desire of the two civilizations to forge a common force of development for the benefit of both African and Chinese peoples. This dynamic relationship recognizes the richness of diversity and acknowledges the fast changing geopolitical landscape which is characterized by uncertainties and emergent threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. To overcome these challenges, China and Africa must work together for global development.

Under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is pursuing Vision 2030, which aims to attain an economically empowered and prosperous upper middle-income society by 2030. This vision is laid on the firm foundation of comprehensive cooperation with China and other progressive partners across the world.

By virtue of being comprehensive strategic partners of cooperation, Zimbabwe and China will pursue new fields of cooperation toward quality development, industrialization, manpower skills development, technology transfer and the establishment of a community of health.

Tangible projects undertaken through bilateral cooperation which have transformed the Zimbabwean landscape include, among others, the Victoria Falls International Airport and Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Expansion Project, the expansion of the Kariba South Hydro Power Station by 300 megawatts and the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station by 600 MW. The above-mentioned projects demonstrate an indelible footprint of deep cooperation between Zimbabwe and China.

Since the launch of reform and opening-up policy, China has witnessed meteoric growth in both private and public sectors, creating a strong capital base which can be channeled to countries in need of foreign direct investment. Zimbabwe is an attractive destination for Chinese FDI for many reasons: chief among them being history, principles, environment, resources and shared aspirations.

From a historical perspective, the two countries have worked together for over 40 years.

This relationship continues to blossom as evidenced by the upgrading of their diplomatic relations from all-weather friends to a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation in 2018. The upgrade was an endorsement of the new trajectory of cooperation based on a shared future of prosperity and this alone should be a good signal for Chinese enterprises to do business in Zimbabwe and vice versa.

In terms of principles, the two countries have demonstrated unshakeable support for each other's core interests. Zimbabwe fully supports the one-China principle. It also supported and applauded China's intense work to end poverty. China on its part has supported Zimbabwe in its fight against illegal sanctions imposed by the West since 2000. The mutual support given to each other has created confidence among the people of the two countries to work together.

The political and security situation in Zimbabwe is very stable and predictable. Both foreigners and citizens are equally protected by the law. In addition, the country has implemented a raft of legal reforms to promote the ease of doing business. This includes among other things the introduction of a one-stop investment center, taxation and other sectoral benefits as well as duty free importation of plant and machinery for specific sectors promoting industrialization and value addition.

This investor-friendly atmosphere is creating a conducive climate for competition in quality investment. Hence, Chinese businesses are encouraged to invest in Zimbabwe. Currently, there are over 400 Chinese enterprises, big and small, operating in the country's mining, manufacturing, service, agricultural and tourism sectors. They are operating either as single entities or joint ventures with local governments or the private sector. By the end of 2019, China's investment stock in Zimbabwe was nearly $2 billion and it is the contention that with the untapped natural resources available in Zimbabwe, there is more room for FDI.

To conclude, there is enormous scope for working together to pursue mutual benefits. Whereas China has the capital and technology, Zimbabwe has the natural resources in land, minerals and manpower. In synergy, the two can work together to create commonly shared wealth and if an appropriate model is created, it could be replicated across the continent for the realization of the African Union Agenda 2063.

Earlier on, it was noted that the joint population of China and Africa is currently about 2.6 billion. According to the United Nations statistics, the African population is projected to reach about 2.6 billion by 2050. This huge population will serve as a multiplier for production and the consumer market. With vision and foresight, China is encouraged to be the trend setter in establishing value chains in Africa as a continental bloc through its regions.

While we are alive to the coercive pressures and negative propaganda being peddled by the West about China's investments in Africa, China remains steadfast in the pursuit of its pragmatic global development policies for the benefit of humanity. Africa and China need each other, hence they should shape the parameters and scope of their interlocution.

The author is Zimbabwe's ambassador to China. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Contact the editor at editor@chinawatch.cn