World / China-Zimbabwe

Investment hopes high as Xi arrives

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Harare (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-02 06:17

Investment hopes high as Xi arrives

President Xi Jinping reviews the honor of guard during a welcoming ceremony held for him by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday. Huang Jingwen / Xinhua

President Xi Jinping arrived at Harare International Airport on Tuesday morning for a two-day visit, after wrapping up a 33-hour trip to France where he attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the Paris climate change conference.

Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were greeted by his Zimbabwean counterpart, 91-year-old Robert Mugabe and his wife at the airport. The presidents are expected to meet for talks in the afternoon.

This is the first state visit by a Chinese leader to Zimbabwe since 1996, and Xi’s second trip to Africa as president. With this trip, Xi said he looked forward to enhancing friendship between the two countries, exploring new opportunities for cooperation in all areas and delivering more benefits to the two peoples.

He also said in an article published in leading Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald , on Saturday that bilateral friendship has taken root and sprouted in the hearts of the two peoples.

The countries established diplomatic relations on April 18, 1980, the day Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain.

In addition to his wife, Xi’s entourage includes State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Director of National Development and Reform Commission Xu Shaoshi and Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng, indicating that a raft of agreements on economic, trade and investment are likely to be signed during the visit.

Expectations for Chinese investment in Zimbabwe have been high. “In pursuit of our national development objectives, Zimbabwe welcomes investment from the Chinese community,” Xinhua News Agency quoted Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha as saying at a Zimbabwe-China investment conference in Harare last week.

Another minister, Obert Mpofu, who is in charge of the country’s macroeconomic planning and investment promotion, said: “The Chinese president will make a difference to our trade relations with China in a manner that is sustainable, in a manner that will attract many investors to Zimbabwe.”

Chinese investment in Zimbabwe amounted to $601 million in 2013, the African country that received the most investment that year. Bilateral trade exceeded $1.2 billion in 2014, according to statistics from the Chinese embassy in Harare.

Following his Zimbabwe visit, Xi will continue to South Africa, where he will attend and co-chair the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation with South African President Jacob Zuma in Johannesburg.


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