BEIJING-- Zimbawe is aware that it has a role to play in the movement towards an integrated African economy and is determined to do its best to fit in that vision, says President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In an interview with Chinese State broadcaster CCTV here Sunday, he added: "Africa is moving towards integration. Zimbabwe is insinificant in the continental economy but we know we can play a role in the global village, both at continental and international level."

President Mnangagwagwa said Zimbabwe was also aware that there was a transition to a new world order where Africa would play a greater role in global affairs, while warning that those who remained steeped in the view that Africa was a backward continent would be left behind when trade expanded and started to flow freely.

"In a few decades to come Africa will play a great role in the world," said President Mnangagwa, who is in Beijing to attend the 3rd Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC). the two-day summit began on Monday.

He noted that in April this year African Heads 0f State and Government had signed a document establishing a continent-wide free trade area, which is expected to transform the economies of African nation. Since then, 44 out of Africa's 54 countries had signed the agreement, which showed the seriousness with which the issue of integration was being taken.

President Mnangagwa said besides moving to integrate its economies, Africa was also moving to link with the rest of the world, particularly China, which was assisting them to grow their economies.

He dismissed the notion that the relationship China wanted to develop with Africa was colonial, saying it was instead for mutual benefit. "We are saying, here is a country which has never colonized anybody, which is assisting us to leapfrog into developed countries, into middle income countries," he said.

Out of jealousy for the strides that China has made in establishing economic ties with Africa, some Western countries have warned against co-operation with the Asian giant, alleging that its intentions are to colonize the continent.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would not sit and mourn that it was under sanctions but would explore ways of using the potential and the resources that it had to lift the living standards of its people. "We must ourselves make sure we do that which is possible to grow our economy and better the lives of our people."

He said while the country would continue to re-engage those countries which imposed sanctions, it would also engage those that had supported it over the past years when it went through difficult times.

"Everyone in our view should be friendly. We will continue to consolidate the goodwill that we have been receiving from other capitals in the world."