Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday met a visiting Chinese delegation that is in the country to explore business opportunities, as bilateral relations between Harare and Beijing continue to grow.
The Chinese delegation, headed by Governor for Yanbian Province Mr Li Jinghao, held a meeting with the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces at State House.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Mr Li said they were interested in exploring business opportunities in manufacturing and tobacco processing.
“This is our first time to be in Harare,” he said. “We are deeply impressed by the beauty and good environment of this city. It has many green trees. My second impression is that the citizens and officials of Harare are very friendly to China.
“As for the potential areas of cooperation between us and Harare, Tien Ze is already using tobacco leaves from Zimbabwe. It shows that we already have a good economic cooperation and we can expand our relationship on that basis. Just now, His Excellency, the President mentioned our potential cooperation in manufacturing and tourism.
Mr Li’s delegation was accompanied to State House by Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Huang Ping.
He said Zimbabwe had many good sceneries, particularly in tourism, which had enticed many Chinese people and were now keen to explore possible cooperation.
“Chinese people very much like that and we can discuss our cooperation in the future,” he said.
Mr Li said they were keen to further explore areas in infrastructure development.
“Due to the constraints of time, we did not have much time to see about the infrastructure situation in Zimbabwe, but I can tell you that the Chinese companies have strength in infrastructure development, especially in construction,” said Mr Li.
“I know that already there are some Chinese companies engaged in infrastructure development in this country.”
The Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan province, Cde Miriam Chikukwa, who invited the team to Harare said it was determined to explore business opportunities to enhance bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China.
“I think they are very serious people, because I did not just start by inviting them,” she said. “They were the first to ask if they could visit Harare and see whether we can have a Memorandum of Understanding after that.
“They have kept their word. They have even promised the President that they will work with Harare Metropolitan province and its companies in manufacturing. I think after this I will visit them and we can start having the Mou and other processes.”
Minister Chikukwa said areas of cooperation they discussed included value addition in tobacco to avoid exporting raw tobacco.
Earlier on, the delegation visited Tobacco Processors Zimbabwe to have an appreciation of the firm.