The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: DPM Calls for Commercial Diplomacy With China

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has said that it is time relations between Zimbabwe and China move from being political to being commercial.

He said the two countries should benefit equally from the good relations.

DPM Mutambara was speaking at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday during a meeting with outgoing Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Xin Shunkang.

He said every deal between Zimbabwe and China should result in a "win-win situation" for the two countries.

"It's high time the interaction between China and Zimbabwe move to commercial diplomacy and we are happy Mr Xin had started doing that," said DPM Mutambara.

"Mr Xin was pushing economics, trade and investment and this is the kind of relations we should now embrace. Every deal should be designed in a way that ensures that value is added to each country."

DPM Mutambara said African countries should move away from negotiating bilateral deals but regional ones.

"We are small countries and we end up losing in most cases. We should engage China as Comesa, Sadc and the African Union for us to get better deals," he said.

"As we move forward, we want a regional strategy that puts us in a better position to extract economies of scale."

DPM Mutambara said Zimbabwe was "very lucky" to have historical ties with China.

"Let us leverage that history to benefit our people. That history should be used to drive our economy to greater heights. We have the resources and China has the cash and technical expertise which we must take advantage of," he said.

DPM Mutambara thanked Mr Xin for being "active" during his term of office in Zimbabwe.

"He was such a dynamic man and we hope that his replacement would be the same," he said.

"I also thank you for the support you have given us and recently you supported us when we launched the University of Zimbabwe fundraising project."

Mr Xin said relations between Zimbabwe and China will continue to blossom in all sectors of the economy.

"We have to continue cementing these relations and there is no doubt that the exchanges we always have will take us to greater heights," he said.

'I had good working relations with Zimbabweans and the country will always be in my heart. I will not hesitate to come back here as Zimbabwe had become my second home."

Mr Xin will leaves on Friday.

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