Mnangagwa returns home to an economic storm as price hikes and shortages escalates

HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned home from Beijing, China, where he attended the Forum on China-Africa Relations (FOCAC) summit.

Prices of basic commodities have been going up since last week and parents are struggling to buy necessities for their children who started school on Monday.

Goods that include rice, cooking oil, cereals, sugar, washing powder, lotions, toiletries, instant noodles, snacks, sweets and juices have been on an upward trajectory in retail outlets in across the country while their prices have been constant on the street

Mnangagwa was among 48 heads of state and government from Africa who attended the 2018 Beijing summit of FOCAC.

President Mnangagwa returned home this morning and was met at the Robert Mugabe International Airport by the two vice presidents Retired General Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, Harare Province Minister of State Miriam Chikukwa, Minister of State for Scholarships Dr Chris Mushohwe, senior government and service chiefs.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa held bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping on Wednesday afternoon where the two leaders later witnessed the signing of three bilateral cooperation documents.

After the two day summit, only a handful of leaders President Mnangagwa included were accorded an opportunity to hold bilateral talks with the Chinese President.

Upon arrival at the Great Hall of the People, President Mnangagwa was warmly welcomed by President Xi before proceeding for the meeting which was attended by senior officials from both sides.

On the Zimbabwean side were Ministers Dr Sibusiso Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa, Dr Mike Bimha, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to China Paul Chikawa, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya, permanent secretaries George Charamba and Mrs Abigail Shonhiwa, Attorney General Advocate Prince Machaya and senior officials from the president’s office.

The President said Zimbabwe will fully support the cooperation measures proposed by China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the FOCAC framework, and explore new models and areas to push for sustainable development in economic and trade cooperation.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe and China have a unique friendship that has now been elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership and the Zimbabwean government appreciates China’s assistance to help improve the country’s economy.

Speaking through an interpreter Chinese President Xi Jinping commended President Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwean government for the commitment made during the FOCAC summit to jointly develop the Belt and Road Initiative with China.

Both pledged to continue to strengthen political mutual trust, firmly support each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns, and further enhance exchanges of governance experience of the ruling party.

President Xi said China and Zimbabwe have always been good friends, good partners, and good brothers and the Asian country has always stood by Zimbabwe in safeguarding sovereignty, development interests and in opposing foreign interference.

After the meeting, President Mnangagwa and his Chinese counterpart witnessed the signing of three bilateral cooperation agreements on immigration, importation of citrus fruits to China and the financial support that will see 500 boreholes being drilled.

Attorney General Advocate Prince Machaya signed on behalf of the Zimbabwean government.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Retired Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo said the ball is now in Zimbabwe’s court to ensure the cooperation agreements are implemented.