Zimbabwe keen to see deeper China-Africa cooperation

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Zimbabwe hopes to see a continuous deepening of cooperation between Africa and China within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a cabinet minister said here Thursday.

China-Africa cooperation has reached an important milestone with a need for a continuous growth of this win-win relationship, Zimbabwean Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in an interview with Chinese media. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the FOCAC, an important framework for common development in a rapidly globalized international system. “There has been a lot of progress in terms of deepening cooperation between African countries and China,” said Mutsvangwa, adding that both sides have benefitted from the FOCAC. “We would like to continue to see the deepening of this cooperation,” said the minister.

There are abundant opportunities for bilateral cooperation under the FOCAC, particularly in the mining sector, she said. “There is a lot we can cooperate on. Africa has got natural resources and China has got the capital and expertise to help us exploit the minerals,” she said. Zimbabwe is rich in mineral resources and needs funding and expertise to “exploit these for the good of our people,” Mutsvangwa said, noting that a growing number of Chinese companies are helping Zimbabwe tap the minerals resources, with some building smelters to seek export opportunities of value added minerals

China has stood behind African countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, providing them with equipment, medical supplies and technical support in fighting the virus, the minister said. “We have been able to contain the COVID-19 pandemic with the help from China,” said Mutsvangwa, adding that without China’s assistance, it would have been even harder for Zimbabwe to cope with the pandemic.

Western economic sanctions, which were imposed 20 years ago, have made it difficult for Zimbabwe to borrow from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, she added. “We are very grateful to China” for its help in the pandemic, including providing personal protective equipment and sending medical experts, she said. Zimbabwe has so far recorded 149 coronavirus cases with four deaths since the onset of the pandemic in March.

Mutsvangwa said that China’s investment in other countries aims to “add value to those countries,” rather than trying to divide a country or intervene in their internal affairs. “China is our all-weather friend” and we will continue to move forward together, she said.

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