|Africa News Digest
Huge Chinese Investments in Zimbabwe Announced
Nov. 20 (EIRNS)China announced $8 billion in investment deals with Zimbabwe yesterday, the day after President Obama left China. This is the single largest foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe since the February formation of the Zimbabwe Unity government. According to news reports, the investments by China Sonangol (a China-Angola joint venture company) will be in gold and platinum refining, oil and gas exploration, fuel procurement and distribution, and housing development.
President Obama has slavishly followed the British policy of maintaining sanctions against Zimbabwe, thus refusing to collaborate with the effort of Zimbabwe's government to rebuild its economy. By implementing what Zimbabwe officials refer to as the "Look East Policy" adopted by the government four years ago, Zimbabwe is now orienting toward the new Asian-Pacific center of world development.
When Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visited Obama, as the head of a Unity government, on June 12, Obama offered a pitifully small amount of aid, and would not allow a member of the delegation, who is a member of President Mugabe's Zanu party, to attend the meeting.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and President Mugabe held bilateral talks concerning this investment package at the Nov. 8-9 China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Egypt, and China chose the day after Obama's departure from China to announce the deals, a clear message to those backing the British destabilization and economic warfare against Africa, a message that will not be lost on African leaders.
After the announcement of the deal, the chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr. Misheck Sibanda, expressed the hope that this collaboration would continue, so that Zimbabwe could regain its status as the "jewel of Africa," according to the online Zimbabwe Guardian yesterday.
In June-July, China had already provided nearly $6 billion to Zimbabwe, after Western nations had refused Tsvangirai's requests. The Zimbabwe government reported in July that Zimbabwe and China had signed a $5 billion loan deal, the largest signed up to that point between the two nations, which was secured by various mining and infrastructural development rights. Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Reserve Bank officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Exim Bank (CEB), which guaranteed the loan. Zimbabwe got $5 billion from the CEB, and China received some equity in a $40 billion platinum concession.
At that time, Tsvangirai also announced that Zimbabwe had secured an additional $950 million in credit lines from the Chinese government.