China, Zimbabwe to sign power, infrastructure deals

Chinese President Xi visits Zimbabwe to develop economic relations, expected to sign deals in different departments

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping walks with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe upon arrival for a state visit in Harare, Zimbabwe on December 1, 2015

President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping visited Zimbabwe on Tuesday amid expectations that he would sign deals to fund different fields such as infrastructure, electricity generation and other projects. 

The visit is the first one paid by a PRC president since 1996, when the Jiang Zemin leadership visited, who made substantial developmental growth with reforms.

Chinese president Xi met with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the pair are expected to carry out deals in infrastructure, electricity generation and several different projects.

According to Chinese officials Beijing will loan capital Harare at least $1 billion to fund the 600 megawatt (MW) expansion of Hwange coal power station.

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa stated that four agreements on electricity generation including Hwange in western Zimbabwe would be signed.

They will also sign road construction and infrastructure deals during Xi’s two-day long visit.

Last year in October, Chinese Sinohydro Corporation, a hydropower engineering and construction company, invested $1.5 billion in a bid to add two generation plants at Hwange.

"Financial closure has been reached and the agreement for Hwange 7 and 8 will be signed today," said Chinamasa.

Noah Gwariro, managing director of state-owned Zimbabwe Power Company said that the total cost of the project would be $325 million.

Zimbabwe's economy is struggling to emerge from a recession which took place between 1999-2008, which saw the gross domestic product shrink by 45 percent.

On Aug. 25, Mugabe said his country's economy was set for a major take-off with China's help.

After Zimbabwe, Xi will visit South Africa on Wednesday where he will meet President Jacob Zuma and later co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit in Johannesburg.

In 2014, the trade volume between China and Africa was $220 billion, which makes China Africa's greatest trading partner.  

According to London-based BMI Research, which carries out analyses of the macroeconomic, industry and financial market, said that China invested $32.4 billion only at the end of 2014.  

Africans broadly see China as a healthy counterbalance to Western influence though Western governments accuse China of turning a blind eye to conflicts and rights abuses while they carry out trade and aid policies there.

TRTWorld and agencies