EXPERTS from Zimbabwe and China are taking part in a week-long training programme that will see an exchange of ideas on how Zimbabwe can learn from the latter’s growth into the world’s largest economy.
The two countries share strong relations that date back to the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe, but since assuming office, President Mnangagwa has made it clear that his administration will be enhancing economic diplomacy.
China now has an estimated gross domestic product of US$13 trillion, the world’s second largest, but is the world leader in manufacturing and several other sectors considered crucial to Zimbabwe’s reform and growth programmes.
Its co-operation with Zimbabwe is a sign that big capital is taking a keen interest in the awakening of the local economy, which is being primed towards an upper middle income earning status by 2030.
The China-Zimbabwe Economic Reform and Transformation training workshop is specifically focusing on special economic zones, a critical step in accelerating growth, and especially industrial growth, as well as ensuring that this growth is spread across the country and not concentrated in a single region or city.
Zimbabwe has made devolution one of the central factors in the newly announced economic blueprint — the National Development Strategy 1 — but remains a unitary State with one centre of power.
Devolution is seen as a way of ensuring that local communities are able to contribute to and take responsibility for development in their areas and is part of the agenda aimed at taking development to every corner of the country.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ambassador Nicholas Kitikiti said the country stands to benefit immensely from learning from China’s experiences.
“These workshops consolidate the co-operation framework agreed upon between the Government of Zimbabwe represented by the Office of the President and Cabinet and the People’s Republic of China represented by the International Co-operation Centre of the National Development and Reform Commission,” said Ambassador Kitikiti.
The training workshops have been taking place in China since 2016 but this year are being hosted virtually in compliance with the Covid-19 mitigatory measures, with the first one being held successfully in August.
Participants from the Zimbabwean side are drawn from the Office of the President and Cabinet, Government ministries, Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, the banking sector, selected State enterprises, provincial development coordinators and some State universities.
Ambassador Kitikiti said some of the objectives of the training workshop are to, “discuss and learn reform experience and lessons on Chinese state-owned enterprises from Chinese experts” plus to “discuss devolution and delegation of power, local economic development and its administration learning from Chinese experiences”.
“We believe that this training will offer Zimbabwe some valuable experiences and lessons in terms of overall macro-economic policy, sectoral strategies, and specific mechanisms for industrial development.
“The programme will also sharpen competences in the public sectors required to implement Zimbabwe’s development strategy,” said Ambassador Kitikiti.
China grew from a poor largely agrarian country to a global economic superpower in four decades, with an estimated average growth of 9,5 percent up to 2018.
The Chinese success has been described by the World Bank as the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history.
Delivering his lecture yesterday, Deputy Director General from Institute of Economic Institution and Management of NDRC, Wang Hai, detailed the journey travelled by China to become an economic behemoth.
He gave an expert overview on reform experiences and lessons on Chinese State-owned enterprises.