The Sunday Mail
China’s signature foreign trade policy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is set to accelerate President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s drive to establish an upper middle-income economy within the next 11 years, a Cabinet Minister has said.
In her remarks in Beijing at a high-level BRI meeting attended by several ministers from around the world, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said BRI had come at the most opportune time as it feeds into the country’s Vision 2030. A brainchild of China’s President Xi Jinping, BRI aims to re-create the ancient Silk Road trade routes with the rest of the world and open up trade opportunities worth trillions of dollars.
“My President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has the grand national vision to transform Zimbabwe into a modern middle-income country by 2030. To achieve this noble goal, he is championing the mantra ‘Zimbabwe Is Open for Business’. He is keenly determined that Zimbabwe attracts the foreign direct investment that is key to fulfil his national vision. He has duly instructed his people to learn from global best practice and to proceed to excel in offering the most hospitable climate to enterprising global capital.”
BRI, she added, essentially shows China’s ambition to share economic growth with developing countries.
Minister Mutsvangwa – who spent several years in Beijing when her husband, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, was Zimbabwe’s top envoy to China – described the world’s second-biggest economy’s meteoric rise to prosperity as “the most frenetic pace of economic changes ever in the history of humankind”.
She said Zimbabwe seeks to be “a good partner” to China under the BRI.
“My nation of Zimbabwe knows this Chinese attribute of China as a well-meaning friend. Indeed ours is a case study and my presence here speaks volumes of our eagerness to learn and share without imagined fear or prejudice.”
In his speech at the summit’s closing yesterday, President Xi said deals worth more than US$64 billion had been signed last week alone, with more deals expected to be penned in the coming years.
In a separate interview with The Sunday Mail, China’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said Harare is poised for massive spin-offs from BRI.
“The second BRI summit in Beijing has been very successful. It intends to connect China to the world through five pillars, which are policy coordination, trade connectivity, financial connectivity, infrastructure connectivity and people-to-people connectivity.
“Zimbabwe and China are close friends and recently our relations were elevated from all-weather friends to comprehensive strategic partnership.
“The BRI provides the framework to raise our relations to an even higher level. We want to challenge the Zimbabwean Government, through their technocrats, to work out the strategies with us, on how we can elevate the relations,” he said.
Beijing, he added, will continue to push Chinese enterprises to invest in the country in order to promote economic development.
The envoy believes the ease of doing business reforms has the potential to attract more investments. The BRI summit, which attracted more than 37 leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America and senior government officials from over 100 countries, ended yesterday