A challenging exclusive status


THE elevation of the bi-lateral relationship between China and Zimbabwe from an all-weather friend to that of ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ is going to have a big say in seeing the country achieve middle class status by 2030.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s and, indeed, the nation’s dream would have been fulfilled.
The gigantic leap in status from 10th to third sees Zimbabwe in an exclusive group with only three other African countries; South Africa, Algeria and Egypt.
Mind you, this is a new elevated relationship with a country with an outbound investment capital of over US$300 billion.
Africa’s economic powerhouse, Nigeria, fails to qualify as the relationship can’t be ‘comprehensive’ because of defence and security issues created by Boko Haram.
Comprehensive strategic partnership is a relationship which includes an upgrade in economic relations, paving the way for FDI, loans and grants.
This is especially welcome after the nightmarish absence of development in the country for the last 20 years or so .
The new status assures us of more comprehensive and long-term funding by Chinese state-owned companies unlike the peripheral ties before the upgrade.
This is besides the small Chinese companies by individuals, some of them dubious, which have flooded the country during the all-weather friendship stage.
Here we are talking of companies like China’s Sinohydro.
We are all aware of the work at Kariba South hydro power expansion project done by China’s Sinohydro.
Already, with our new status, China’s Sinhydro is ready to release, immediately, funds for the US$1 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion; a project that will see an additional 600 megawatts into the national grid.
Mind you, it’s not only Sinohydro, there are several other state companies now comfortable doing business with us.
This new relationship facilitates the selection of realistic projects whose funding is assured, something that was not so obvious at level 10.
These include rail and road infrastructure.
The long-awaited Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway is another road project in the offing.
We are sure, with our new status, it is now possible to replace the Austrian company which seems to have failed to punch above its weight.
Benefits from the redefinition of our relationship are not limited to infrastructure development only.
As we enjoy a preferred status to a market with over 1,4 billion people, farmers have to accept the challenge that goes with it.
Here is an insatiable market for their agricultural products.
Thank God, the Government has already introduced Command Agriculture with a resounding success of the maize crop recorded last year.
Beneficiaries of various items now under this programme must have reason to smile.
This new status, if accepted with commitment to development, will enhance the pro-business environment being sought by the new dispensation.
This also calls for selfless commitment, devoid of any traces of the scourge of corruption, by those meant to facilitate deals.
The cumulative effect of all this will see President Mnangagwa’s, and indeed, the nation’s dream of a middle-class Zimbabwe by 2030 realised.
Of course, there will be hurdles here and there, with a good number erected by our own local political malcontents.
This is the breed that would prefer to see President Mnangagwa walk to China instead of opting for the most economic air transport available.
Remember, China has moved on from a Third World country to be the second largest economy in the world in 50 years.
This is despite hostility from the West, which included sanctions.


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