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China to construct three major infrastructural development projects in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe and China are finalising modalities to commence construction of three major infrastructure development projects, as the two countries pledge to further strengthen their bilateral relations.

The projects set for take-off include construction of the new parliament building, expansion of the Robert Mugabe International Airport and Hwange Thermal Power Station.

This was revealed by Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping, when he paid a courtesy call on Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

The Asian giant remains Zimbabwe’s top trading partner, accounting for US$365mn worth of imports in 2016.

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Through its Export and Import bank, China has also provided several loans to Zimbabwe including US$150mn to upgrade the Victoria Falls Airport and US$355m for the expansion of Kariba hydro power plant.

"Kariba, as you know has one generator now working, providing 150MW to the national grid," Huang said.

"Another generator is going to be working, maybe before April and we are now working on how we can find a quicker way of constructing Harare International Airport [now Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport] and Hwange [Thermal Power Station] and for the Parliament, we are now doing the tendering and I think very soon we would be able to select a company to do the construction.

"There are other projects we are talking about, but also important is that we are preparing for His Excellency President Mnangagwa's visit to China."

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to undertake a state visit to China early this year “to cement economic ties between the two countries,” an official said on Tuesday.

China has agreed to provide over US$1bn for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station that will add 600MW to the national grid, while the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport will be expanded through a US$150mn loan.

The new Parliament Building will be constructed through a US$46mn loan provided by the Chinese.

Ambassador Huang congratulated Vice President Chiwenga on his appointment and pledged to work with the new government.

"I came to congratulate the honourable Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe upon being appointed Vice President," he said.

"We also shared ideas on the good relationships, which date back to the liberation struggle and we also shared ideas on how China and Zimbabwe can continue to work to make this relationship grow in this new era.”

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