HARARE - China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Zimbabwe Tuesday to start his four-day Africa tour, a visit analysts say is aimed at deepening economic and security cooperation.
Xi got a 21-gun salute as he arrived at the Harare International Airport.
He spends the day with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe at the president’s farm outside the capital.
Government minister and former Zimbabwe ambassador to China, Christopher Mutsvangwa, says the two leaders are expected to sign several large deals. State media reports the deals will include infrastructure and transport, among other areas.
“China has become the second largest economy in the world so we are hoping that the coming in of the president of China into Zimbabwe puts the spotlight on Zimbabwe as a country which can be a destination of direct foreign investment. So it is a very important visit from the point of view of injecting new dynamism into the Zimbabwe foreign direct investment market,” said Mutsvangwa.
China is the largest foreign investor in Zimbabwe with interests ranging from construction and energy to telecommunications. China has also become the largest importer of Zimbabwean products — mainly tobacco and minerals like gold and diamonds.
Western countries have restricted commerce with the Southern African nation, accusing the government of human rights violations.
Zimbabwe adopted a “Look East Policy” focusing in particular on China and Russia after the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his senior officials in 2002 amid reports of vote rigging.
From Zimbabwe, Xi heads to South Africa Wednesday where he will meet with South African officials and then co-chair a large China-Africa summit Friday.