News / Africa

Mugabe Turns to One of Few Allies Left - China

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pose for photographers prior to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Aug. 26, 2014.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pose for photographers prior to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Aug. 26, 2014.
Anita Powell

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is in China on a five-day state visit.  The trip comes after he was snubbed by U.S. President Barack Obama, who did not invite him to the recent U.S.-Africa summit.  The longtime leader is reportedly seeking a $4 billion financial boost for his nation’s struggling economy. 

Mugabe has long been known for his fiery, combative anti-Western rhetoric.

And so, as he ventured east this week for a five-day state visit to China, the host government greeted him with a 21-gun salute.  Members of Mugabe’s delegation on Monday signed a bevy of agreements with Chinese officials, though the details of the agreements were not released.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walks with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Aug. 25, 2014.Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walks with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Aug. 25, 2014.
x
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walks with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Aug. 25, 2014.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walks with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Aug. 25, 2014.

It’s an increasingly rare welcome for a leader who has fewer and fewer places to turn.  He and many members of his inner circle face strict sanctions and travel bans from the West for years of alleged election rigging and human rights abuses.

Earlier this year, first lady Grace Mugabe was denied a visa for a trip to the EU, and earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama pointedly left  Mugabe off the guest list for a summit of African leaders.

Yejoo Kim, a research analyst at the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, says the Zimbabwe-China friendship is not new -- Mugabe sought support from China during Zimbabwe’s independence struggle in the late 1970s.

“Actually this is not the first time for Mugabe to visit China. As we all know, Zimbabwe not invited to attend the U.S. this year, in August.  So even before the U.S. and the EU imposed sanctions against Mugabe, he had developed a 'look east' policy,” she said.

But Mugabe needs more than friendship.  Zimbabwe’s economy is once again in turmoil, with widespread power outages and reports of companies being forced to close or stop paying employees.

Zimbabwean media have reported that Mugabe is asking Chinese leaders for $4 billion.  Mugabe’s spokesman did not answer repeated calls seeking comment on the reports.  

Kim said that the two nations have long had financial ties, with a number of Chinese mining and construction firms already working in Zimbabwe.

“The country has to find another economic opportunity from other countries, say, from Asia.  And considering Zimbabwe has been suffering from economic stagnation, China is giving the country a great opportunity, that’s why Mugabe has to visit China, actually,” she said.

But, Kim said, if Zimbabwe got the money it sought, there would be a price.  Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources like minerals, timber and metals -- making it a potentially lucrative investment for China.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs