Chinese capital helps Zimbabwe cushion Western sanctions: minister

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s strong ties with China has help it tap into the Asian giant’s huge capital resources for development as a cushion to the withdrawal of funds from traditional Western donors, a cabinet minister said Wednesday at a local university forum.

\n

\n

Zimbabwe has suffered from a roll-back of investment from the West for the past 15 years, hence the need to look for an alternative. It then managed to establish a strong economic relationship with China, building on the two countries’ strong political ties forged during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle in the 1960s and 1970s, said Minister of Welfare for War Veterans, War Collaborators Christopher Mutsvangwa.

\n

Mutsvangwa, speaking at the Sino-Zimbabwe relations symposium organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe, recalled China’s assistance to the country in the 1970s when revolutionary liberators like himself were otherwise denied the means to overthrow a unrelenting whites minority regime.

\n

Mutsvangwa, a former ambassador to China in the early 2000s, said the European powers who once formed a cartel trying to block weapons flowing to African liberators later formed a quasi-cartel to deny independent young African states of the capital which is crucial to development.

\n

Interest rates from Western financial institutions were prohibitively high and Africa being denied its fair share of capital explained the under-development of the continent, he said.

\n

Zimbabwe adopted a “Look East” policy in 2004 to foster strong ties with China and other emerging Asian nations as development partners.

\n

“We need to access capital on a multi-billion dollar scale to get our economy forward and that is why the architecture of the Chinese financial system has become important because it is an alternative financial system which is not hostile to us,” Mutsvangwa said.

\n

Zimbabwe has in fact emerged as one of the major destinations of Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa. According to the Chinese embassy in Harare, Chinese FDI into Zimbabwe has risen from 460 million dollars in 2011 to 601 million dollars in 2013.

\n

Chinese companies extensively invest in mining, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunication and tourism.

\n

Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa would develop faster with financial support from China than from the Bretton Woods institutions whose cost for capital he said was prohibitive.

\n

The post Chinese capital helps Zimbabwe cushion Western sanctions: minister appeared first on The Zimbabwe Mail.