By Farai D Hove | Below is ZANU PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa’s response to online presenter, Chiwoneso Mpofu’s question concerning Zimbabwe’s debt trap to China.
Speaking just after the 2018 elections, Mnangagwa said Chinese loans are not dangerous. “I don’t see the danger there,” he said.
Mnangagwa, in full, said most of the money coming from China was going towards revenue-generating infrastructure projects that would pay themselves off.
He said, “During (Zimbabwe’s) period of isolation, very few countries outside the West assisted us. Some of the notable countries which came to our assistance are China, India, Brazil, Russia and Malaysia.
“And when things are good you then do not forget your friend who stood with you during bad times, but you do not sell your country because somebody stood with you during bad times.
“What is necessary when you get loans or investment, it must be structured. (There is need for) investment in projects which can re-finance themselves to pay the loan.”
Mnangagwa cited the two massive capital projects of the expansion of Kariba South and Hwange power stations, which are financed with Chinese capital.
“I do not see any danger where you have a project which becomes productive in terms of revenue streams to pay for itself,” he said.
“When you finish paying the loan, the asset remains with us and we will continue to have electricity so I do not see the danger there.”
Weighing in on the issue, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, who is part of the President’s delegation on the visit to New York, said China was “where the money is”.
Prof Ncube also said African countries should negotiate sustainable terms when seeking loans.
“We have a very strong debt sustainability analysis framework which allows us to understand whether we are over indebted or not, (whether) we can pay or not.
“The Chinese also do that analysis themselves and if they find out that you cannot pay they do not lend you the money, this is not free money,” he said.