Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa makes first China state visit

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on April 3, 2018.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa touched down in China this week for a five-day state visit which could bear fruits for his country’s troubled economy.

Prior to the trip, Mnangagwa outlined his economic agenda in an interview with China’s state-run news outlet Xinhua. “The issue is not only about attracting capital into Zimbabwe. It’s an issue of leapfrogging after 18 years of isolation so that we catch up with the rest of the developing countries,” he said on Sunday.

The trip, which takes place from Monday to Friday of this week, is Mnangagwa’s first state visit outside of Africa since taking over from Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa met his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

“We must have deeper economic relations with China. We know the road that we need to follow to grow our economy,” he said. Mnangagwa also spoke of his intention to reassure Chinese investors of “the security of investment that we have created in our own jurisdiction.”

Zimbabwe and China’s relationship dates back to 1979, in which China provided former President Robert Mugabe’s guerrilla fighters with weapons and training in the Rhodesian Bush War — part of Zimbabwe’s fight for independence from its British colonial government. Both Mugabe and his successor Mnangagwa have been described as friends by the Chinese government.

Mnangagwa visited China in the 1960s for military training.

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