HARARE – Infrastructure projects being constructed by Chinese firms in Zimbabwe are on track and will be delivered in time, Guo Shaochun, the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe has said.

Shaochun undertook to scale up economic cooperation with Zimbabwe to address a string of headwinds.

Improved economic ties will come after the Chinese helped in the refurbishment of Kariba hydro power station two years ago, at a cost of US$550 million, which increased generation capacity to 1 050 megawatts (MW) from 750MW.

In addition, the Chinese are undertaking the US$1,5 billion facelift of the Hwange power station, which is expected to be delivered in the coming year, while the new parliament building is also in its final phases.

“The new Parliament building, the pharmaceutical warehouse, the borehole drilling and other projects financed by Chinese grants are advancing on schedule and will be handed over to the government and people of Zimbabwe on time,” Shaochun said.

“Steady was the progress in our practical cooperation (in 2019). The joint projects like the Hwange thermal power station project, the Mugabe International airport expansion project and the Netone Phase Three project are all progressing very well.

Let’s materialise good projects that promise economic and social returns; identify new areas of opportunity; explore new models and practices; and involve players from more diverse backgrounds to keep our cooperation on the track towards sustained and sustainable growth. The tourism sector could be a good starting point. A favourable public perception and healthy, informed debate will go a long way towards the continued success of our joint efforts in every aspect,” he added.

Shaochun said Zimbabwe and China have been ready to support each other on the international front and humanitarian front.

China was among major countries to provide assistance when the southern African country was hit by flood last year.

“Unflagging was China’s support for Zimbabwe as it battled against natural disasters and development challenges. When Zimbabwe was severely hit by Cyclone Idai early last year, China was quick to respond by providing emergency humanitarian assistance. We are now working with Zimbabwe side to advance post-disaster reconstruction,” he said.

He said Zimbabwe and China must upgrade practical cooperation to boost economic ties so that they match our high-level political trust.

He said the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Belt and Road initiative were two major platforms to deepen economic cooperation.

He said amid a multitude of global economic growth disruptors, China maintained its commitment to reform and openness, and continued to lead global growth, creating 11,93 million jobs in the first 10 months of 2019.

Per capita disposable income rose by 6,1 percent in real terms, outpacing the growth of per capita GDP.

“Trade was brisk with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) the EU, and countries along the routes of the Belt and Road initiative. At a landmark session in October, the Communist Party of China outlined the clear contours of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and drew up a road-map for modernising China’s system and capacity for governance. In 2019, the global order was reeling under the pressure of unilateralism, protectionism and power politics. China sent out a clear and firm message: all countries are in a community with a shared future. We must consult and work with one another, support the international multilateral system, and pool our strength in order to tackle the common challenges and embrace a brighter future,” he noted.