Home » Governance » It’s Now Time for Action, Comrades

Government’s policy blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), finally got a major fillip this week from deals signed between President Mugabe and the Chinese government during his week-long State visit to the Asian economic giant.President Mugabe signed agreements which will enable China to provide financial support in diverse areas such as energy, telecommunications, digitalisation of the ZBC, agriculture, tourism and transportation infrastructure.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Tuesday told President Mugabe that China would continue to support Zimbabwe’s development initiatives through technology transfer, help in food production and poverty eradication, infrastructure construction and personnel training.

A consortium of Zimbabwean and Chinese companies also signed a deal for an integrated project worth over US$2 billion. This will see the construction of a 600MW thermal power station in Gwayi, production of 2,4 million tonnes of coal annually and building of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam. The agreement also incorporates plans to build the Gwayi Industrial Park under the Greater Lupane Special Economic Zone.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is part of the delegation accompanying the President, said Government had also signed an MoU for feasibility studies on the dualisation of the country’s major highways, among them the Beitbridge-Harare, Harare-Nyamapanda and Harare-Chirundu.

More importantly, the agreements focus chiefly on economic enablers rather than consumptive spending. That is why the key focus is on power generation, agriculture, tourism and the country’s road transportation network, including the National Railways of Zimbabwe which has been comatose for a long time.

For a long time Zimbabwe has grappled with crippling power shortages. It is therefore vital that the planned Gwayi thermal power station will add at least 600MW to the national grid, being third from the Kariba hydropower station and Hwange thermal power station. This should ensure industry has consistent and enough power supplies to increase productivity.

Similarly, we cannot overemphasise the importance and urgency of dualising the Beitbridge-Harare highway, one of the busiest commercial routes in the country. This will also improve safety on that road which has been responsible for some of the grisly carnages every day because it is too narrow for the many haulage trucks which use it.

Minister Chinamasa was quick to allay fears raised in some sections of the media, themselves fed by the same countries and institutions which have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe and are happy to see the country in economic doldrums, that we were not using our minerals to securitise the loan deals with China.

On the contrary, he said projects would be funded on a case-by-case basis in the productive and infrastructural sectors which incorporated “a securitisation framework”.

“Projects must demonstrate their ability to pay for themselves,” he said. “You will not come to China to ask for money to invest in a project that won’t pay for itself. That would not make economic sense.”

When all is said, there is no doubt that this was a most successful trip. What is left is implementation, and we hope every Zimbabwean will find a space on this major endeavour to put their shoulder to the national wheel.

Source : The Herald

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