Economists have hailed President Emmerson Mnangagwa for striking major economic deals with the Chinese government and elevating cooperation to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, a situation they said will likely inject a new impetus to the economy.
Zimbabwe and China signed deals worth billions of dollars, which are set to open a new page in the transformation of the economy by funding key infrastructure projects that will create jobs and spur economic growth and development.
Former president of Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Luxon Zembe, said China has been Zimbabwe’s all-weather ally and the signing of the mega deals will play a major role in resuscitating the country’s economy which was on its death bed.
“We’re happy and optimistic that the deals China and Zimbabwe signed will bring forth a new start and more support in the development of critical economic drivers such as energy and roads. Also , the changing of Zimbabwe’s status to the highest level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Co-operation is an indication that China has confidence in the country’s potential and is willing to assist in our journey towards economic revival,” he said.
Zembe said the new dispensation is more likely to foster more tangible results from the signed mega deals in contrast to the previous administration under former President Mugabe.
“We’ve been our own enemies in the past. We failed to honour our end of the bargain when it comes to deals we signed with the Chinese government. This is the reason why most of them didn’t materialise into tangible developments that can benefit the country’s economy.
“President Mnangagwa has, through his Zimbabwe is ‘Open for Business’ mantra managed to inspire confidence and pledge his commitment to fulfill our obligations. This way we will be able to move forward and play our part ensuring these deals bear fruit,” said Zembe.
He said it is Zimbabwe’s responsibility to ensure resources are not mortgaged when engaging other countries in investment deals.
“It should be our priority to make sure that Zimbabwe’s resources are not exchanged at a loss. When we sign mega deals, it is essential to review the terms and conditions. The deals must be able to benefit the ordinary man on the street. It is sad to note that, in most cases, we’ve witnessed that those who go to make the deals are usually the ones that benefit. However, it is important that deals are signed to benefit all,” said Zembe.
He urged Zimbabweans to be more patient with the new administration, stating that change will not come overnight.
“Zimbabwe moved from a crisis of leadership to a crisis of expectations. People are now expecting too much than is possible within the five months. Yes, we’re in a new dispensation, but our economy was in the Intensive Care Unit, our economy needs time to recover, it was on its death bed. People need to be more patient, our economy will recover,” he said.
Economic analyst, Chris Mugaga, implored President Mnangagwa to address corruption to enable the smooth flow of the recently signed deals.
“The deals between China and Zimbabwe are a step in the right direction and we’re positive that we’ll reap benefits from them in the long term. The Chinese are setting the pace for other foreign investors; they’re proving to the world that we’re good investment ground.
“There’s need to address the issue of corruption in the country. No investor wants to invest in a country that has corrupt people. We need to put in place systems that enable us to arrest corrupt people so that we boost foreign investors’ confidence,” he said.
Dr Davison Gomo, an economic analyst, also concurred with Zembe that Zimbabwe is now poised for a major economic boost following the signing of the major deals with China under the new government.
He said China being the second powerful economy in the world puts Zimbabwe at a strategic position to get assistance from the best.
“Zimbabwe and China relations date back to the liberation struggle era. We’ve always been friends. China has remained consistent through the years given the bad internal relations that were taking place in Zimbabwe. President Mnangagwa’s open and honest way of handling business and his commitment to political and economic reforms have excited many quotas, including China.
“What is significant, this time around, is the elevation of Zimbabwe’s status. This puts Zimbabwe at an advantage. Indeed, we can never be equal to China but Zimbabwe must tap into the massive technological expertise that the country possesses to develop Zimbabwe,” he said.
Dr Gomo said the new dispensation must be applauded for opening its doors not only to the Look East policy but also to the West.
“President Mnangagwa is not only concentrating on China, he has also opened doors to countries from the West, as we have seen the European delegation that came to conduct pre-election observations. This is a sign that the main focus is to have development and we’re ready to work with any country that is ready to engage us,” he said.
President Mnangagwa’s visit to China saw the signing of numerous projects such as the US$1 billion for Hwange and the US$1.2 billion Memorandum Of Understanding for Tourism and Sino-Zim relations upgraded to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.