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article imageChina signs $700 million loan to Zimbabwe for agriculture, health

By Andrew Moran     Mar 21, 2011 in Politics
Harare - The government of China has loaned the Zimbabwe government nearly $700 million Monday. The money would go towards the agriculture and health sector. But Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan is urging Zimbabwe to respect Chinese businesses.
Since the unity government was imposed in 2009, President Robert Mugabe sought economic assistance from China. For several years, Western nations implemented sanctions against the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front for alleged election fraud and human rights abuses.
Zimbabwe, once a flourishing success in Africa because of its richness in minerals, has now received a $700 million loan from China, according to Reuters Africa. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said in his visit to Harare that he hoped Zimbabwean officials would respect Chinese-owned corporations – Zimbabwe imposed a law that would give the black population majority ownership of businesses.
“China understands the need for indigenisation and empowerment but we hope Zimbabwe will protect the legitimate right of Chinese businesses in the country,” said Wang during a brief meeting with Zimbabwe President Joice Mujuru.
A woman stands outside of her temporary home and dried up maize crop in Epworth  in Harare  Zimbabwe
A woman stands outside of her temporary home and dried up maize crop in Epworth, in Harare, Zimbabwe
IRIN Photos
The Zimbabwe Vice President reassured the Chinese government and stated that the money received from the Export-Import Bank would go directly to the agriculture, equipment and machinery sectors, while the other half of the money would be invested in its health and water systems.
The Zimbabwe Telegraph reports that the Vice Premier will visit the Chitungwiza Central Hospital. During this time, Chinese doctors will perform free cataract eye operations as part of the China-Zimbabwe Friendship Brightness Project. “We want to demonstrate that China is a good friend to Zimbabwe. It is our hope that the economy and lives of Zimbabweans would change.”
Wang will also make a courtesy call to President Mugabe, notes Zimbabwe Online.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, China’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Xin Shunkang, said Wang, a former mayor of Beijing, is making his first visit to the African continent. “This will also be the first time that the Vice Premier (Mr Wang) will visit Africa,” said Xin. “He is also expected to visit Kenya and Angola.”
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