ZIMBABWE will continue receiving Chinese gifts and other support owing to a strong relationship the two countries have, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Huang Ping said yesterday.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU in Lupane
Huang said Zimbabwe was China’s all-weather friend, adding donations and other benefits to the country crystallised the “time-tested” relationship between the two countries.
He was addressing guests during the handover of a Chinese-built Lupane China-Africa Friendship Primary School in Lupane yesterday
“Looking ahead, China will continue setting a strong momentum of support to Zimbabwe education and help more talented young people in this country fulfil their dreams,” he said.
“I wish to extend on behalf of the Chinese government warm congratulations on this project that crystallises the time-tested friendship between China and Zimbabwe.”
Construction of the Lupane China-Africa Friendship Primary School started in August last year and was completed in February. The Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group — a Chinese mining and construction company — built the school at a cost of $1,7 million.
“Education is always crucial in the development of a country and a nation. In this sense, I believe we are handing over not only this school, but a well-prepared gift to our Zimbabwean friends,” Huang added at the function attended by government ministers, officials and legislators.
Matabeleland Provincial Affairs minister, Cain Mathema described the Chinese primary school gift as a sign of an unbreakable friendship between China and Zimbabwe after President Robert Mugabe turned to the East after relations with the West soured.
“We are happy to receive this beautiful school in Matabeleland North. It reflects the beauty of the relationship between Zimbabwe and China. China has always been with us and this is the practical example of our strong relationship,” Mathema said.
Mugabe now regards China as Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend after his fallout with the West at the turn of the millennium.
In the last five years, Zimbabwe has received more than $1 billion in low-interest loans from China, which is Harare’s second largest trading partner after South Africa.
In August 2014, Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping signed various deals worth billions of dollars, mostly focusing on infrastructure.
According to Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) statistics, the Asian giant remained Zimbabwe’s largest investor, accounting for 74% of the US$134 million in foreign direct investments recorded by Zimbabwe during the first five months of 2015.
In 2014 ZIA approved $929 million worth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects, of which 72% were from China.