, HARARE, Nov 19 – Zimbabwe\’s government and a Chinese investment company have signed an eight billion dollars investment deal, the biggest since the unity government was set up, state media reported on Thursday.
The signing of five agreements with China Sonangol, a private joint venture with Angola\’s state oil firm, will target gold and platinum refining, oil and gas exploration, fuel purchase and distribution, and housing, the Herald newspaper said.
"The signing… bears testimony to the relevance and efficacy of the Look East policy" adopted by the government four years ago, said Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary in President Robert Mugabe\’s office.
"It is hoped that the co-operation will continue to grow from strength to strength and through such efforts it is only a matter of time before Zimbabwe becomes the jewel of Africa."
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono hailed China for supporting Zimbabwe, with China Sonangol chairman Manuel Vincente describing Zimbabwe as a land "of opportunity with great potential."
"This deal represents the most significant inward investment inflow in Zimbabwe. This comes at a time when the country is being ridiculed left, right and centre," said Gono.
In June, Zimbabwe secured 950 million dollars in credit lines from China, boosting the country\’s global appeal for funds to rebuild its shattered economy.
Mugabe joined long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai in a unity deal brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki in February.
The new government is seeking 8.3 billion dollars (5.9 billion euros) to revive the once thriving economy, battered by years of political turmoil and deepening economic crisis under Mugabe.