BEIJING– Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has arrived in Beijing for a State visit to China where he is expected to seal crucial economic agreements and consolidate relations with the global economic giant.

The State visit, at the invitation of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, is in fulfilment of a pledge he made to make Beijing the destination of one of the first official visits outside Africa. China was one of the first countries to send a special envoy to Zimbabwe soon after President Mnangagwa was inaugurated in November, signalling its intention to work with the new regime in Harare and to strengthen bilateral ties.

The President, who arrived here Monday, is accompanied by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa. The president, who faces a packed programme, is also accompanied by a delegation which includes Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Industry Minister Mike Bimha.

Several business people from Zimbabwe are also in Beijing creating synergies with their Chinese counterparts.

On Monday, President Mnangagwa met China’s Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China, Song Tao.

On Tuesday, he will attend a business forum and tour the China Communication Construction Company group before holding meetings with several Chinese business leaders, including officials from Sino Hydro, R and F, Poly and ZTE.

Sino Hydro recently completed the Kariba South power plant extension project, while R and F is interested in reviving defunct steel maker Zisco Steel.

The president will then hold talks with his counterpart, President Xi Jinping, before witnessing the signing of various agreements.

On Wednesday, President Mnangagwa will lay a wreath at the Monument of the People’s Heroes at Tiananmen Square in Beijing before holding separate meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Li Zhanshu.

Later, President Mnangagwa and his delegation will depart for Hefei in Anhui Province where he will meet business people and provincial leaders before travelling to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province later the same day.

Anhui province is a manufacturing hub of household electrical appliances as well as many electronic products with companies including Haier, Hisense and Whirlpool while Zhejiang is one of the richest and most developed provinces in China. In Zhejiang, President Mnangagwa will attend another business forum before winding up his visit.