The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: China Now Zimbabwe's Top Investor

Harare — CHINA is now the largest single investor in Zimbabwe with its investment portfolio now standing at more than US$600 million, Speaker of the House of Assembly Cde John Nkomo has said.

"It is heartening to know that China is now the largest investor in Zimbabwe and her investment now stands at over US$600 million.

"Currently more than 35 Chinese companies grace our economic landscape and there have been more exploratory visits to Zimbabwe by Chinese companies seeking investment opportunities," he said.

Cde Nkomo was speaking on Friday night at a dinner hosted for the visiting chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Mr Jia Qinglin, at the Rainbow Towers.

Zimbabwe, Cde Nkomo said, was happy to be associated with China which had the fastest growing economy in the world and guarded jealously the mutual co-existence that cascades in all spheres of life.

"Indeed, Zimbabweans deeply cherish these mutually beneficial friendships between our sister countries and are grateful for the support received to date and the political goodwill we continue to enjoy in the context of our bilateral and multilateral links," he said.

Cde Nkomo commended China's policy on the international arena, which he said was built on noble principles of non-interference, equality and mutual respect for each other's sovereignty.

He expressed gratitude for the support given by China to Zimbabwe at various international fora.

"It is my sincere hope that this solidarity based on principle will continue between our sister countries. The strong political ties that exist between the Communist Party of China and Zanu-PF must be expanded and consolidated," he said.

Cde Nkomo paid tribute to Mr Jia and his delegation for donating a computer and office equipment to the Parliament of Zimbabwe, saying the equipment would go a long way in contributing to modernisation of support services at the institution.

In response, Mr Jia said China cherished the strong relations with Zimbabwe dating back to the liberation struggle.

"China will continue to work with Zimbabwe to promote bilateral relations from one generation to the other," he said through an interpreter.

Mr Jia said one of the main purposes of his visit was to discuss with the Government how to implement the resolutions of the Beijing Summit on Forum on China-Africa Co-operation held in November last year as a way of furthering relations between Zimbabwe and China.

Zimbabwe, he said, had the potential to overcome the current economic difficulties.

Mr Jia also hailed Zimbabwe for promoting peace and stability in the region, saying since independence the Southern African nation had stood firm in defence of its sovereignty.

Among those who attended the occasion were the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, President of the Senate Cde Edna Madzongwe and Cabinet ministers.

Also in attendance were legislators from both Zanu-PF and MDC and senior Government officials.

Meanwhile, Mr Jia and his delegation yesterday toured the Victoria Falls.

According to our Bulawayo Bureau, Mr Jia arrived at the Victoria Falls International Airport just before midday accompanied by Cde Nkomo, Cde Madzongwe, Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development, Cde Walter Mzembi and a high-powered Chinese delegation which comprised senior government ministers and the media.

He was met at the airport by the Governor for Matabeleland North Province, Cde Sithokozile Mathuthu, Politburo member Cde Dumiso Dabengwa, the Senator for Hwange East Cde Grace Dube, the Mayor of Victoria Falls Mr Tose Sansole, Zanu-PF supporters and senior Government officials in the town.

Mr Jia was given a warm Zimbabwean welcome, spiced up by traditional dancers.

Soon after his arrival, Mr Jia and his entourage went to the majestic Victoria Falls, passing through the statue of explorer David Livingstone in the famed Rain forest before taking a view of the Main Falls.

His visit created a lot of interest in the resort town as people were glued to the road as his motorcade passed-by.

During the tour, he was briefed on the historical background of the people who lived along the Zambezi River through to modern Zimbabwe. His visit to the Victoria Falls is expected to give a boost to the country's efforts to market its tourism destinations to more than a billion people in China.

After the tour, Mr Jia had lunch at the Elephant Hills Hotel before holding closed-door talks with Cde Nkomo and Cde Madzongwe.

Journalists accompanying Mr Jia are expected to tell the true Zimbabwean story on their return home. The delegation returned to Harare in late afternoon.

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