Chinese business delegation expected tomorrow

HARARE - An investment delegation from Qingdao Province, China is expected in the country tomorrow, as more companies from the Asian giant continue to scout for investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.

Information from the ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion indicates that the delegation will be in the country for three days, in search of prospects in energy, mining, banking and transport.

Some of the envoy members are representatives from the Qingdao Overseas Investment Service Centre, the Qingdao branch of the People’s Bank of China, the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce, and the Qingdao Communist Party of China (CPC) Committee.

The 12-member delegation is also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (Mou) with the Simon Khaya Moyo-led ministry during its three-day stay, as the Qingdao Bureau of Commerce is set to represent Chinese interests in the proceedings.

After signing, the Mou is set to facilitate for a platform for investment collaboration, staff capacity building and identification of priority projects between Zimbabwe and Qingdao.

China has become the largest foreign investor in Zimbabwe after the emerging Asian giant poured more than $200 million in the country in 2014, with the figure expected to have surged in 2015.

According to Industry minister Mike Bimha, China poured a total sum of $238 874 520 in 2014 into agriculture, construction, manufacturing, services, transport and tourism sectors in 2014.

Latest United National Conference on Trade and Development data indicate that Zimbabwe attracted a total of $545 million worth of FDI in 2014 a 36 percent surge from $400 million registered in 2013.

Towards the end of 2015, Chinese service firms attended a local conference with Zimbabwean businesses that led to the crafting of an investment mechanism between the two countries.

These firms included Sinosteel Corporation; currently negotiating for investments in the ferrochrome sector, Chian Hi-Tech Corporation; negotiating in the textiles sector, China Volant Industry; also in ferrochrome negotiations and others.

Chinese interest in the country follows revelations by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Executive Secretary Carlos Lopez that African leaders had to confront the reality that Chinese investment in Africa was “insignificant”

The hard-pressed southern African nation also brokered infrastructure and platinum deals with China and Russia respectively in 2014, but government has come under fire from various quarters as the deals are yet to materialise.

China’s investments abroad are massive, amounting to $870 billion at the end of last year, according to data released by the Heritage Foundation, an American research institute.

Of the total, China pledged investments of $20 billion to Africa with countries like Chad and Niger now owing to China about 15 times what they receive from the International Monetary Fund.

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