Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Zimbabwe raises eyebrows


Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s visit to Zimbabwe today has raised eyebrows especially from the West which fears that if China brings the investment that has so far been reported about to Zimbabwe this could bolster President Robert Mugabe’s hold on power.

China has promised that it could invest as much as $10 billion in Zimbabwe according to Zimbabwe’s Minister for Economic Planning Tapiwa Mashakada who is ironically from the Movement for Democratic Change and is a close confidante of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mashakada has worked with Tsvangirai for more than two decades dating back to their trade union days when Tsvangirai was secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and Mashakada was one of the labour movement’s economists.

Though still ranked a “developing” country, China is now the world’s second biggest economy but unlike its bigger competitor the United States it is awash with cash.

China has been focussing its investments on Africa and according to the Daily Telegraph of London its investments are growing at the rate of 44 percent a year.

The Financial Times of London reported last month that China had given more money to other developing countries than the World Bank. It had doled out $110 billion against the World Bank’s $100 billion.

The West has tried to scare African governments away from China claiming that it just wants their resources. This has been difficult in the case of Zimbabwe because ties between the two countries date back to the 1960s when it started training cadres for Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

China has remained a loyal friend and though the West claimed that its relations with Zimbabwe were cooling down because China did not want to be associated with the bad publicity surrounding Mugabe, it has remained a loyal ally thwarting any moves to impose United Nations sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Right now the needs of the two countries are complimentary. Zimbabwe needs cash which China has plenty of, and China needs resources, which Zimbabwe has plenty of. China seems to be particularly interested in diamonds and platinum which Zimbabwe has plenty of.

One of the reasons why the West loathes China is that it has thrived using its own formula rather than the West’s prescription through the International Monetary Fund. It has also proved that State capitalism works. The West has been promoting free market capitalising as the one and only solution.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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