AFRICANGLOBE – Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said it is time for Africa, with its rich resources, to economically “stand on its feet,” a process in which China can provide assistance to all African countries.
In a recent brief interview with Chinese media before his visit to China, Mnangagwa said Africa’s economic structure was that each and every one traded with its former colonial master, exporting raw materials from its resources and trade among African states was limited, a structure that was blamed for the continent’s slow pace of development.
As Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe sits as the African Union (AU) chair this year, he set the theme for Africa to industrialize and for African countries to develop internal trade.
Despite Africa’s resilient growth over the past decade, only about 12 percent of the continent’s commerce is internal, compared with 70 per cent in Western Europe, 50 per cent in Asia, and 22 per cent in South America.
“Africa has all the resources and now it is time for Africa to stand on its feet and be able to develop its resources and manpower,” Mnangagwa said.
“And to do so, we need support from China which has gone through the same process and understands the focus and needs of Africa today.”
He said China can especially use its technology and capital to help Africa develop.
Mnangagwa, 68, is visiting China for the first time as the first vice president of the country and the ruling Zanu-PF party.
He said the relations between Zimbabwe and China have been strong for long, and now it is time for the two sides to focus on strengthening economic cooperation to enhance this historic tie.
Trade between China and Zimbabwe grew to 1.24 billion U.S. dollars last year, double the figure in just four years. China has been Zimbabwe’s top foreign investor for several years.
In 2013, Chinese investment to Zimbabwe topped 600 million U.S. dollars, making Zimbabwe one of the top destinations to receive Chinese investment that year.
Mnangagwa said he is going to speed up the implementation of the bilateral cooperation documents signed during Mugabe’s state visit to China last year, covering the fields of telecommunications, infrastructure financing, food donation, tourism, and student exchange programs.