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Mugabe banks on China for Zimbabwe's economic revival

Sep 1, 2015 President Robert Mugabe, who recently outlined reforms that will attract greater investment, has expressed his hope that China can help revive Zimbabwe’s struggling economy.

The 91 year old veteran leader made this known during his first state of the nation address in eight years and firmly suggested that economic growth was just around the corner.

The president’s opening comments during the joint sitting of parliament were to thank the country’s security and defense forces for maintaining peace and order amidst difficult economic conditions.

“Zimbabwe is already positioning itself for major economic take-off in keeping with ZIMASSET (economic plan), which requires massive capital injection and rapid implementation. This has seen government signing key projects with China, covering energy, railways and telecommunication, water, mining, agriculture, and tourism,”” Mugabe said

The president’s speech was met with cheers from members of his ruling ZANU-PF party and jeers from the opposition party.

Although the Zimbabwean economy has been relatively stable since 2009, there have however been dwindling hopes of a big economic recovery. President Mugabe went on to say:

“We expect a clear and robust legislative framework … that streamlines investment and … a one stop investment center…This is now a high and priority matter which those responsible will be held to account.”

He added that the economy is expected to grow by 1.5 percent this year. The figure which is half the initial forecast is due to a drought and weak commodity prices from which the economy has been struggling to recover.

Zimbabwe has endured a prolonged period of isolation from the international community and Mugabe added that the government is working to strengthen ties with international lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“Let me reiterate, the importance of strengthening re-engagements with the international community in recurrent re-engagement opportunities in both bilateral and multi-literal partners including African Development bank, the Afro-Asian bank and the World Bank under various initiatives, should see improvements of relations and opening up of new financial avenues, for long overdue reforms in development cooperation.

With many companies in Zimbabwe struggling to pay salaries due to power cuts and high cost of capital, Mugabe promised to overhaul investment laws by the end of the year to make it easier for companies to operate in the country.

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