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The mega deals signed between Zimbabwe and China will come under scrutiny this week when local officials join their Chinese counterparts here to take stock of progress. Zimbabwe will be part of other African countries which will also be represented at the meeting to review projects being undertaken under the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Mr Zhang Ming told African and Chinese journalists at a press conference on Friday that the meeting would map the way forward on further implementation of the projects.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs delegation is expected to be led by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and would include officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Chinese Ambassador Mr Huang Ping recently revealed that the implementation of the mega deals signed in 2014 and 2015 was on course, with teams from both countries working flat out to ensure their success.

Zimbabwe and China sealed landmark deals worth more than $4 billion when President Mugabe paid a State visit to the Asian country in 2014. Chinese President Xi Jinping then paid a reciprocal State visit to Zimbabwe in 2015 where he, together with President Mugabe, witnessed the signing of more deals.

The deals tackle areas in the Government's Zim-Asset economic blueprint in infrastructure development targeting power generation, roads, rail, ICT and wildlife protection.

Mr Zhang said the review meeting to be held on Thursday and Friday would also look at problems hindering the successful implementation of the projects in some countries. "So, the implementation work is fairly rapid," he said. "Having said that, we also see some problems, for example, in terms of how to use the funding provided by the Chinese side," he said. "I think there is need for further communication and clarification. And we need to produce more specific and workable frames of cooperation.

"And we need to further synergise our development strategies. We need to further strengthen Chinese coordination with African countries." Mr Zhang said the cooperation between China and Africa had reached new heights as evidenced by the implementation of projects across the continent. He said close to 30 African countries had put coordination mechanisms in place to work on the successful implementation of the projects.

"The (review meeting) will also articulate important cooperation principles of China and Africa to push forward the implementation work and demonstrate the strong determination and commitment of China and Africa in working together to follow up on the (Johannesburg) summit," said Mr Zhang. The deals are being implemented under a $60 billion fund availed for the industrialisation of Africa by President Xi at the FOCAC meeting in Johannesburg last year.

The facility includes $5 billion for free aid and interest free loans, $35 billion of preferential loan and export credit on more favourable terms and $5 billion on additional capital for China-Africa Development Fund and the Special Loan for the Development of African Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

Source: The Herald