FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya are in China ahead of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s official visit to the Asian economic giant this month, as part of the government efforts to drum up financial aid to revive the economy.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
A counsellor at the Chinese embassy, Zhao Baogang, told journalists yesterday that Chinamasa and Mangundya were meeting officials from the China EximBank and the Asian country’s top lender Sinosure to negotiate an economic rescue package.
“The minister of Finance (Chinamasa) and governor of the Reserve Bank (Mangundya) are already in China meeting officials from the China-Exim Bank and Sinosure to see what can be done to help Zimbabwe. China continues to be a very good friend of Zimbabwe and is ready to assist,” he said.
Zhao added that Chinamasa and Mangundya were also discussing possible restructuring of Zimbabwe’s debt with Chinese financial institutions.
“Zimbabwe has debts with Chinese banks, so they are trying to see how this can be managed and create space for fresh loans.
“They are also meeting officials from the ministry of Commerce and Finance to see how we could resolve the issue of outstanding loans,” the Chinese envoy said.
Mnangagwa is due in Beijing next month and Zhao said this could boost relations between the two countries.
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“Relations between Zimbabwe and China will be getting stronger with the invitation by President Xi Jinping to President Mnangagwa at the beginning of April. A date has already been set and preparations are underway. We fully support President Mnangagwa’s government and I can assure you more investors are coming,” the embassy official said.
With Zimbabwe set to go to the polls later this year, the Chinese official said his country would honour its obligations even if an opposition government comes to power. “We always have confidence in Zimbabwe and the Zanu PF government. Kariba South Power project will be commissioned soon. A date has already been set for the handover ceremony. China financed the project and this will help Zimbabwe’s power generation capacity by 300 megawatts,” Zhao said.
“It takes time for these deals to be implemented and there were discussions. Only that these negotiations are coming to fruition now but it does not mean we had stopped anything.”
Zimbabwe reportedly owes Chinese banks over $100 million which was borrowed for various projects during former President Robert Mugabe’s era.