BEIJING, -- President Emmerson Mnangagwa says China has agreed to provide grants and loans to Zimbabwe to fund several capital projects in various sectors of Zimbabwe's economy.

President Mnangagwa, who is making a State visit to China, held talks here Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, and they agreed to upgrade relations between Zimbabwe and China to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The two countries also signed several co-operation agreements covering various areas including agriculture, human resources development and economic and technical co-operation.

In an interview with Chinese media here, President Mnangagwa said so far, his State visit had been a resounding success.

Zimbabwe is going through a new dispensation and there is a lot of hope and expectation in the area of economic growth and expansion. We have come to the People's Republic of China as our first call outside

Africa to talk to our closest friend which is the People's Republic of China and lay bare our economic challenges which we are facing, he said.

I am glad to say in all areas I have raised we have received positive replies to those challenges and I am so confident that the assistance we are going to receive from People's Republic of China in terms of grants, in terms of loans will see us implement the vision which we have to grow our economy as well as to deepen our economic co-operation with the People's Republic of China.

However, the President did not reveal the quantum of the loans and grants.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe expected that by September some of the capital projects should be at implementation stage, and these included the expansion of the Hwange thermal power station, construction of the new Parliament building and the upgrading of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare.

He denied assertions by some western countries that China attached stringent conditions to loans it provided to African countries. On my visit, I have received so many grants, (and) that cannot be a burden to Zimbabwe. We have also secured loans that are directed to fund capital projects and that again does not add to the national debt, but that is being productive and progressive, he added.

There is nothing that China has done that threatens the independence and national interests of Zimbabwe, but there is a lot (that) Western countries have done to threaten our political and economic sovereignty as Zimbabwe."

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa and his delegation have left Beijing for Hefei, in Anhui province, where he will meet several business people and the political leadership of that province.

The President said in Anhui, Zimbabwe would aim to secure deals in the agriculture sector as the province was an agricultural region. My administration has identified the need to modernise our agriculture, mechanize our agriculture and as we travel to Anhui we believe some of these things will be made available to us.

Anhui province is also a manufacturing hub of household electrical appliances as well as many electronic products with companies including Haier, Hisense and Whirlpool.