The Sunday Mail
Relations between Zimbabwe and China are set to be further deepened this year for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries, President Mnangagwa has said.
China celebrates its New Year, dubbed the Lunar New Year, today.
It is based on cycles of the moon and falls on a different day each year — usually between late January and the middle of February.
In China, the Lunar New Year celebrations are characterised by festivities known as the Spring Festival.
They run for 15 days and are considered the country’s most important holiday.
In a congratulatory message to the Chinese community, President Mnangagwa said the festivities, which are recognised by more than a billion people worldwide, are an opportunity to reflect on growing ties between Harare and Beijing.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe, and on my own behalf, I wish to extend to you warm congratulations on the advent of the Chinese Lunar New Year that marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, which symbolises longevity, peace and prosperity,” he said.
“I am further delighted that the new season offers an opportunity to solidify the strong bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between our two countries and peoples.”
The President offered his best wishes to China.
“I wish you good health, prosperity and every success in the New Year,” he said.
China — through its government, as well as private firms — has bankrolled several key economic projects in Zimbabwe, including Hwange Power Station Units 7 and 8 expansion, the new Parliament Building in Mount Hampden and the expansion of Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Speaking on Friday at an event to mark the Lunar New Year, China’s charge d’affaires in Zimbabwe Mr Cheng Yan said his country would continue creating mutually beneficial opportunities for growth in Zimbabwe.
“We express our sincere appreciation to you for the long-standing support and contribution to the development of our countries and the China-Zimbabwe friendship,” he said.
“China is committed to expanding its policy of opening to the outside world and pursue mutually beneficial strategies.”
Mr Cheng expressed gratitude to President Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe for their continued commitment to deepening relations between the two countries.
The mutually beneficial friendship between Zimbabwe and China, he added, was unbreakable.
Mr Cheng indicated that bilateral trade between the two countries grew significantly in 2022.
“The trade between China and Zimbabwe has kept growing, with a 30 percent increase (last year) despite the (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Chinese internationals in Zimbabwe have long contributed to the economic development of Zimbabwe (as) demonstrated by the presence of overseas Chinese enterprises, institutions and nationals,” he said.
In his congratulatory speech read on his behalf by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa at the 2023 Chinese New Year celebrations on Friday night, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga said China had rendered Zimbabwe invaluable support that continues to boost the country’s economic performance.
“Over the past few years, we have witnessed increased growth of investments in Zimbabwe by the Chinese government and Chinese companies. The Chinese government and business community have transferred technical expertise and created employment opportunities for tens of thousands of our people.
“The investments have helped to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product and volume of exports,” he said.
It was notable, said VP Chiwenga, that Beijing has continued to call for the removal of sanctions imposed by the West on Harare.
“We are most grateful to the People’s Republic of China for having joined other countries in the clarion call for the removal of these illegal measures,” he said.
“As I reiterate my warm congratulations on the advent of the Chinese Lunar New Year, I wish to underline that the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe looks forward to continue working closely with the People’s Republic of China to further consolidate the bilateral cooperation between our two friendly nations.”
Relations between Harare and Beijing have been blossoming under President Mnangagwa’s administration.
In November 2017, Zimbabwe and China upgraded their ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation, which is the highest level of bilateral ties.