GOVERNMENT yesterday held a crucial meeting with Chinese Embassy officials and Chinese investors to seek ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries.
The meeting is expected to be a regular fixture on the calendar to provide a forum of exchange among key stakeholders on issues like immigration laws, the investment climate and monetary and currency issues, among others.
In an interview after the meeting, China’s Deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Zhao Baogang, said: “Our President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 and under this initiative, we have been developing cooperation with countries on the route, including Zimbabwe.”
Last year, he said, Zimbabwe and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
“Under this initiative, China has a lot of cooperation with Zimbabwe. We have seen the Kariba South extension, Hwange Thermal Power Station, Harare (Robert Gabriel Mugabe) International Airport and Victoria Falls International Airport and also a lot of assistance and so many other projects and investments. And more Chinese investors want to come to Africa and also want to do a lot of feasibility studies in Zimbabwe since they feel that it is a good destination for investment but many of them feel that they have a lot of difficulties,” he said.
Mr Zhao said to improve cooperation, there was need to organise trilateral meetings involving the Chinese Embassy, Chinese investors and Zimbabwean Government departments.
“When talking about these issues, we could see the currency issues (arising), then immigration double certificates, the driver’s licences and the work permit, all those issues but
we are very glad that the Zimbabwean Government knows of this and some of them gave immediate response to these questions. So they promised to resolve these issues,” he said.
Mr Zhao said the meeting would soon be institutionalised, possibly to be held regularly every three months or half year or at the request of the two parties on either Zimbabwean side of Chinese side.
In May, Zimbabwe and China signed three cooperation agreements focusing on the economy and social services, as the two all-weather friends take their relations to another level.
The agreements were signed in Harare after meeting with Zimbabwe delegation headed by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, and the Chinese economic and trade delegation led by the Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr Qian Keming.