9.12.2009

Chinese Firms Pour Millions Into Country

Harare — ZIMBABWE and two Chinese investors on Monday signed four multi-million dollar deals that will see the Asian companies investing in the mining and transport sectors.

The memoranda of understanding signed between the Government and China International Fund and Sino-Zimbabwe Development Company will see investment in the construction of the Harare-Chitungwiza and Harare-Gweru railway lines, the extension of the Harare International Airport runway and a new taxi way in addition to aviation consultancy.

The Chinese will also pump in US$90 million for the resuscitation of Connemara Gold Mine near Gweru.

US$10 million will, within the next three days, be invested in diamond mining at Chiadzwa.

Speaking after the signing of the MoUs, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said the agreements were a sign of the ever-strengthening relations between Zimbabwe and China.

He said China continued to have confidence in Zimbabwe in spite of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.

"This is an acknowledgement of the confidence China International Fund and Sino-Zimbabwe Development Company have in our economy.

"This comes at a time when there are some in the international community who are sceptical of our inclusive Government," Dr Sibanda said.

He reiterated calls for the removal of the illegal sanctions that have crippled the economy.

"I want to assure you and other investors that the President and the Government of Zimbabwe will continue to make the environment for investment conducive.

"The handicaps we had and the crippling sanctions did not bar you to come and assist us and you really are our friends indeed. We continue to call on those who have imposed sanctions to come on board and immediately remove these sanctions," Dr Sibanda said.

He said Zimbabwe was ready to work with any country and said Government would ensure the quick implementation of investment deals.

A representative of the investors said the signing of the MoUs was another example of the benefits of South-South co-operation and promised that China would continue to look for more investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.

"Today is a big day for Zimbabwe's Government and for us. This is based on the spirit of South-South co-operation.

"Today's achievements are a demonstration of the good relations between Zimbabwe and China and we believe there are more and more areas we can participate in and co-operate," he said.

The construction of the Harare-Chitungwiza railway line has been on the drawing board for a number of years and its completion will ease transport woes and costs for commuters who ply the route daily.

The extension of the airport runway and the taxi way has been noted as one way of luring back major airlines as Zimbabwe will be able to handle larger traffic volumes, especially with the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa only seven months away.

Only two weeks ago, Zimbabwe and another Chinese joint venture investment company, Sonangol, signed five investment deals worth over US$8 billion covering oil and gas exploration, gold and platinum refining, fuel procurement and distribution, and housing development.

The investment has flown in the face of claims that Zimbabwe's Look East Policy has not paid dividends. (All Africa)

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