Beware Of The Chinese: Mutambara

China has been embraced as all- weather friends after Zimbabwe looked East in 2004 when the western world tightened its screws on Zimbabwe citing human rights violations and governance deficiencies.

Addressing mining sector stakeholders, Mutambara said: “Chinese are no longer comrades but coming as business people and sometimes more shrewder than the Americans but let us not fight them,” Mutambara said.

Mutambara said Zimbabwe should embrace more foreign investors other than looking only to the east adding “the more the merrier”.

He said government should be smarter in its dealngs with the Chinese.

China has been engaged in barter deals with Zimbabwe providing money in exchange for commodities.

The Chinese are financing the building of a Defence College in return for mining diamonds in Marange.

Mutambara said the fact that China has been bailing out countries shows that it is a big player in the world which cannot be ignored.

China has adopted a governance neutral approach to investment and aid on the continent at a time the west is preaching about governance and human rights issue, Beijing has adopted a neutral approach thereby expanding its footprint on the continent.

Statistics show that China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa has increased yearly by an average of 46% over the last decade.

The stock stood at US$7, 80 billion in 2008 compared to US$ 56 million in 1996.

During the first three quarters of 2009, Chinese FDI flows into Africa amounted to $875 million, posting an increase of almost 80% year-on-year.

This has made China a major trading partner for Africa and it now absorbs about 10 % of the continent’s exports.

In 2008, the total bilateral trade amounted to US$114 billion of which US$52 billion consisted of exports by Africa to China and US$62 billion of imports by Africa from China.