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article imageChina extends $36m infrastructure loan to Zimbabwe

By Paddy Reid     May 24, 2013 in Business
Harare - The Chinese government has agreed to provide Zimbabwe with a $36 million loan to fund various initiatives in the east African country.
The documents making the loan official were signed at a special meeting in Harare attended by high ranking officials from both governments, including the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and the Chinese vice-premier Wang Yang.
The agreements were signed by Zimbabwe’s Acting Finance Minister Sipepa Nkomo and another official, who was overseen by the Chinese vice premier, according to StarAfrica. The two countries also exchanged acceptance letters pertaining to the drilling of 136 boreholes and a feasibility study to be conducted which will examine the potential to drill a further 300 holes.
“I was deeply impressed by the meeting with President Mugabe. I did not expect him to be in such good health,” commented Wang after the meeting, AllAfrica reported. The vice-premier, who was speaking through an interpreter, explained that “we (he and Mugabe) talked about how we can strengthen our economic and trade co-operation in the areas of agriculture, health, education and water development.”
The website reported that the documents were signed with the cooperation of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Water. The Chinese government are hoping that the funds, the first $16 million of which will be repaid over the next five years, will be well spent in irrigation and infrastructure development.
Zimbabwean vice president Joice Mujuru, who was also in attendance, said that Mugabe and Wang also discussed aspects of Zimbabwe’s historical links with China.
Wang’s visit to Zimbabwe was his first to the African continent since he became Chinese vice president during the country’s once in a decade power restructuring two months ago.
Wang’s visit was welcomed by former labour union leader and current Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a man who was once a staunch critic of President Mugabe. Tsvangirai said that the country’s new constitution, signed into law on Wednesday, will protect foreign investors who choose to do business in the sub-Saharan country.
China is Zimbabwe’s third largest trading partner, with bilateral trade between the two topping $1 billion in 2012, Global Times reports.
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