President Mnangagwa’s State visit to China last week came at the right time and struck the right cord that Zimbabwe desperately needs. We viewed the visit in line with the vision of the new dispensation that was heralded by the ascendancy of President Mnangagwa in November last year.
Major milestones were reached during President Mnangagwa’s meeting with Chinese officials, who included President Xi Jinping.
What is most important is that relations between Zimbabwe and China were elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Status, a move that is set to change the bilateral cooperation between the two nations.
From now on, we should expect to see more capital flowing from China to Zimbabwe in investments because of this new status.
That China is a friend of Zimbabwe is well documented.
But the two leaders, President Mnangagwa and President Xi, have resolved to focus more on the future than dwell in the past, while recognising that the history that binds the two countries remains important.
Being forward looking means that people from both nations can now start reaping economic benefits from such high-level bilateral co-operation.
China is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of infrastructure development and establishing a solid industrial base to support economic development.
By elevating the bilateral relations to the new levels, China is demonstrating its willingness to boost trade with Zimbabwe and stimulate the country’s economic growth.
Another major milestone that came out of the Beijing visit by President Mnangagwa was the incorporation of Zimbabwe into the Belt and Road Initiative. Not many people have cared to examine the benefits of this initiative, which is part of President Xi’s thought on the new economic trajectory China is taking.
We reckon that Zimbabwe stands to reap huge benefits by being part of a select group of countries that China is dealing with under the Belt and Road Initiative.
The initiative has turned out to be the largest infrastructure development project, which will see more than a trillion dollars being invested across the globe.
Zimbabweans should celebrate President Mnangagwa for convincing the Chinese to make the country a part of such a huge investment that is set to change the face of the world.
Under this initiative, China will build massive infrastructure that will connect it to many countries around world, including Zimbabwe.
This will help facilitate trade and the transfer of capital, technology and expertise.
The project is meant to create an economic cooperation framework with the countries involved that will bring real benefits to the people, making it “a belt of new opportunities”.
But President Mnangagwa’s efforts in China will amount to nothing if officials here do not move fast to address historical impediments to the free flow of investment.
The first thing Zimbabweans should do is to come up with laws, rules and regulations that govern foreign investment. Before selecting a destination, investors usually consider how much profits they are likely to make.
The rules should be clear on what the investors can take out as part of their profits and what they should retain locally, and there should be no shifting of goalposts once such guidelines are made. The ease of doing business should be fast-tracked to ensure that investors do not meet too many obstacles when intending to set up base in Zimbabwe.
We must remember that there are too many countries out there attempting to attract investment, and that investors choose competitive destinations.
It is up to us to make our country a priority for foreign direct investment, and we are happy that President Mnangagwa is leading the way.
His trip to China last week confirmed that Zimbabwe is indeed open for business and is charting a new developmental trajectory for the benefit of the people.