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China, Zimbabwe trade doubles, calls for relaxed visas for Asians

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Harare - China continues to make its presence known in parts of Africa, including Zimbabwe. Many Chinese companies and public officials are working closely with their Zimbabwean counterparts as the Asian economic powerhouse persists in its African investment.

Xin Shunkang, China’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, spoke during a public lecture where he introduced a report titled “Outlook of China’s Economy and Sino-Zimbabwe Relation,” according to The Zimbabwean. It looks at the level of trade between the two nations and how much money has been invested.

The Chinese Ambassador, who has served close to three years, said the report found that trade between the two nations has doubled from $400 million to $800 million in just two years, while also strengthening political and social relations.

In the paper, it found that one of the most successful trade commodities is tobacco. The Chinese government has also contributed more than $25 million since 2009 to various Zimbabwean initiatives.

Before the end of his term as Ambassador, Shunkang urged Zimbabwe to take lessons from China, which has transformed its economy in three decades. He encouraged the leadership to establish processing and production facilities in 10 provinces that would focus on key commodities, like beef, cotton and tobacco.

Relaxed visas

Bernama.com reports that Zimbabwe Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi urged the government to review its visa classifications and requirements that would be relaxed for Asian visitors.

The current system gives the European Union important preference over others.

“Visa conditions need to be looked at,” said Mzembi. “The Asian countries are our new friends, business relations are growing from strength to strength. We should reward the friendship more practically.”

Food shortage

The Zambian government confirmed that it has agreed to sell 300,000 tons of corn to its southern neighbor, which is suffering from intense food shortages, including corn.

Zambia’s state Food Reserve Agency said in a statement the deal would reduce the nation’s food surplus by 50 percent, reports the Associated Press (via BusinessWeek).

More than a decade ago, Zimbabwe was the nation to export food to Zambia, but since President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) made it policy for white-owned farm owners, and other white-owned businesses, to give majority stake to the country’s blacks, the nation has suffered from many, many shortages and violence.

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