UNITED NATIONS — China’s President Xi Jinxing visited southern Africa both to build upon booming business relations and improve cozy political ties between the People’s Republic and key regional states.
Beijing is already the African continent’s top trade partner with $222 billion in commerce; moreover China is weaving a vast web of infrastructural, road and rail projects which will help speed a flow of natural resources to China’s industries. PRC trade with Africa exceeds declining American commerce with Africa by a factor of three to one.
While much of the visit dealt with Beijing’s commercial and foreign investment ties to Africa’s vast natural resources, the trip equally underscored the comradely political relations with countries such as Zimbabwe, Xi Jinxing’s first stopover. The PRC president and Zimbabwe’s long-ruling dictator Robert Mugabe underscored the two countries’ ties which date back to Zimbabwe’s independence struggle in former Rhodesia in the 1970’s.
Comrade Bob Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The mineral rich and once bountiful food exporting southern African land had been reduced to a socialist quagmire facing food shortages, endemic corruption, emigration and entrenched authoritarian rule.
Xi Jinxing extolled that Zimbabwe has been an “all weather friend of China.” Comrade Bob Mugabe in turn described China as “Zimbabwe’s best friend” on the global stage.
According to Zimbabwean economist Vince Musewe, “The race to the bottom is accelerating at full speed.” Writing in the newspaper NewsDay he adds, “It will certainly take us some time and much effort to re-invent a new Zimbabwe,” which must have “an ethically responsible and accountable political leadership.”
Curiously, the Chinese Yuan currency is one of a number of foreign currencies which circulate in the impoverished land along with the American Dollar and South African Rand; after years of hyper inflation Zimbabwe discontinued its official currency whose banknotes ran out of space for zeros.
Full article: Comrade Xi’s excellent African safari (World Tribune)