Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
A delegation from various Chinese local authorities has expressed interest in joint venture partnerships with four Zimbabwean cities in tourism, food processing and tobacco farming and processing.
The five-member delegation comprised of governor of Yanbian Prefecture Li Jinghao, mayor of Yanji city Cai Kuilong and his Hunchun city counterpart Zhang Jifeng, director of Foreign Affairs in Yanbian Government Shen Zaicheng, section chief of Foreign Affairs for Yanbian Government Piao Zhe and Ding Changlu, who is the vice-general manager of Jinlin Tobacco Industrial, was in the country recently and met with President Mugabe.
The delegation came at the invitation of Harare Metropolitan Minister Mariam Chikukwa.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Minister Chikukwa said the Chinese local authorities wanted to explore investment opportunities in four local authorities — Harare, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Ruwa.
“President Mugabe told the delegation that we want investment in manufacturing where the Chinese cities can partner our local authorities or local companies,” said Minister Chikukwa.
“He said he wanted value addition to our local products. For instance, this Chinese delegation expressed an interest in tobacco, so the President said he would want to see processed tobacco being exported instead of exporting it in its raw form.
“The Chinese delegation said they were ready to get into joint ventures with the four local authorities that are Harare, Ruwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza. We are setting up a desk that will identify people who are interested in getting into these partnerships.”
Minister Chikukwa said tobacco farmers could also join the partnership.
She said there were also tourism opportunities in the four local authorities that the Chinese cities were exploring.
Minister Chikukwa hosted a dinner for the delegation during its visit, where the officials interacted with Zimbabwean business people.
Head of delegation, Governor Li, said Zimbabwe had great business potential, as such they would want to partner with local authorities and companies.
“The delegation also invited a Zimbabwean delegation that I will lead to China very soon, comprising representatives from the four local authorities,” said Minister Chikukwa.
“During our visit there, we expect to learn some things on how these local authorities generate income to help in service delivery. We will also probably get an opportunity to interface with some Chinese companies.”