The Chinese are here- transactions for the Zimbabwe-China mega deals to be in Chinese currency


A team of Chinese experts from the State planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, is in Zimbabwe to evaluate the mega deals signed by President Robert Mugabe and the Chinese President Xi Jinping last year.

The team’s visit comes less than a month after Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited China to promote “both political trust and pragmatic cooperation” between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Chinese Communist party and the Zimbabwean and Chinese governments.

Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to China, Christopher Mutsvangwa said the visit by the Chinese team had given “legs” to the much criticised Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) – ZANU-PF’s economic blueprint.

The NDRC has been responsible for catapulting China from one of the poorest countries in the world to the biggest economy in the world.

Mutsvangwa said the NDRC in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Central Bank of China would ensure that transactions between the Zimbabwe and China would be in the Chinese currency- the Renminbi, which is also known as the yuan, to prevent countries inimical to Zimbabwe from scrutinising the investments.

Zimbabwe is under United States sanctions. President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries are still on European Union sanctions.

 “Every currency is a middle man and using currencies of other countries is expensive. The more middle men you put between yourself, the more expensive the deal becomes and you will also be exposing your trade transactions to third parties,” Mutsvangwa was quoted by The Herald as saying.

The Chinese currency is legal tender in Zimbabwe.

“It is a great honour and respect to Zimbabwe that this super planning body is now being given the task to help Zimbabwe build a modern economy using their own experience in China, but adapted to the Zimbabwean circumstances. They are here to look at various priority areas of the Zimbabwean economy including selection of projects, which need immediate attention,” Mutsvangwa said.

A memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed on Friday giving an indication of how the mega deals will be implemented.

During his visit to China, Mnangagwa said contrary to some reports which scoffed at the mega deals as a “useless batch of deals”, some of them like the Kariba upgrade were already being implemented.


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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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