By Ndafadza Madanha
CHINA has extended US$213m to Zimbabwe consisting of a concessional loan for the upgrade of Robert Mugabe international airport and a grant for the construction of the new parliament and High Performance Computing Center (HPCC) expansion project.
The concessional loan amounting to US$153m will be used to upgrade the RGM airport and attracts a two percent interest per annum payable over 20 years with a seven year grace period.
Another US$65m grant will be used for the HPCC and construction of parliament.
“The agreements that we’ve signed today will facilitate a total of RMB 1.45 billion (approximately USD213m) to the construction of some key projects in Zimbabwe. A RMB 300 million grant that will be utilized to make up for the funding gap of the implementation of the Zimbabwe Parliament Building and other projects to be agreed upon between the two governments.
Another RMB100m is channeled to explore High Performance Computing Center expansion project,” said Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping at the signing ceremony of the agreement.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who signed the on behalf of the Zimbabwe government said the agreement was testimony to the solid relationship that exists between the two countries.
He said though Zimbabwe was struggling to pay its obligations in recent years the Chinese authorities had remained considerate to the unique position Zimbabwe was in.
Chinamasa said the country was looking to follow China’s growth model.
“We have run into difficulties in servicing our loans and the Chinese understand our position we are in. We do not receive any balance of payment support or any credit lines but we are indeed committed to honoring our obligations with the government of the People’s Republic of China”.
China has supported a number of infrastructural projects in Zimbabwe that include the Kariba South expansion at a cost of US$600m, the Victoria Falls airport upgrade US$160m among a host of other projects. ENDS