Advantage Zimbabwe

Tichaona Zindoga

Zimbabwe attained a trade surplus of US$143 million with China in the first nine months of this year, a development that has been hailed as “significant” after the disruptive global Covid-19 pandemic.

This year alone, between January and September, trade between the two countries has increased by 29.9 percent amounting to US$1.734 billion.

The Ambassador of China to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun, revealed these figures at a seminar with editors from Zimbabwe’s mainstream media last week.

And figures gleaned separately by Review & Mail show that in the nine months to September, Foreign Direct Investment from China amounted to US$30 million.

The growing trade and investment relations between Zimbabwe and China underline the increasingly close cooperation between the two sides with huge benefits for Zimbabwe – and more coming.

Bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China are also taking place in the context of China’s good relations with Africa under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac), as well as the Global Development Initiative enunciated by the Asian giant’s leader, President Xi Jinping.

The ruling Communist Party of China, which recently held its 20th National Congress, is at the centre of driving China’s mutually beneficial relations with the rest of the world, and Zimbabwe is among the countries reaping fruits of cooperation.

Further, China continues to pursue a policy of opening up to the world.

“That is why you see more and more Zimbabwean products are being exported to China,” Amb Guo explained.

“China will strive to create new opportunities for the rest of the world with its own development and further contribute to the building of a modern global economy.”

Amb Guo described the Zimbabwe case as  “more special”.

The figures of China-Zimbabwe trade are looking up.

From January to July 2022, China-Zimbabwe trade totalled US$1.26 billion, up 41.2 percent from last year.

Among them, China imported US $680 million, up 66.7% and exported US$580 million worth of goods up 19.6%.

Among China’s imports from Zimbabwe US$330 million was tobacco, occupying 48.4% of total; steel US$220 million, occupying 32.5%; mineral ores accounted for US$125 million, occupying 18.4%.

 Agricultural products except tobacco (including nuts, cotton, etc.) amounted to about US$30 million accounting for less than 0.5%.

Zimbabwe bought machinery, equipment and spare parts amounting to $320 million, translating to occupied 55% of China’s exports to Zimbabwe while US$30 million worth of steel products were bought by Zimbabwe.

The above statistics make China Zimbabwe’s second largest trading partner after the United Arab Emirates.

Amb Guo revealed that his country was looking at ways to further enhance commerce between the two countries, including opening the market for Zimbabwe’s acclaimed citrus fruit.

On the other hand, China is set to increase technical support for Zimbabwe in the provision of Covid-19 medicines, agriculture experts, drilling of a further 300 boreholes and high-performance computing.

China is cooperating with Zimbabwe in the drug and narcotics fight as well as clean energy and satellite technology for agriculture and climate.

The Covid 19 medicines are set to arrive this week.

It is also understood that the new parliament Building in Mt Hampden, constructed through a grant by the Chinese Government is set to open its doors this week.

The Chinese envoy said the new parliament building would have many benefits including building the capacity of legislators, contribution towards a new satellite city and attracting of new investors.

Meanwhile, he also called on other countries to heed the call to invest in Zimbabwe, attesting to the friendly local investment climate.

Western countries imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the century and this has ironically seen them lose investment traction in the country. Despite that, Harare has declared that it is “Open for Business” and anchors its growth trajectory on increasing trade and investment with other countries.

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