China invests in key projects in Zimbabwe as West tighten economic sanctions

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, April 27, 2007 (AFP) – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Friday that burgeoning economic ties with Asian countries were paying off for the country shunned by its former trading allies in the west.

“I am pleased to report that significant headway has been made with a number of investment projects that have been funded by China now at various stages of implementation in all the key sectors of our economy,” Mugabe said in a keynote address at the annual Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

“Beside our trading partners in the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, countries of Asia are becoming very important partners in trade and investment issues because of our Look East policy.

“Indeed Zimbabwe has been able to broaden her economic horizon by embarking on various joint co-operation projects.”

He acknowledged the country was saddled with economic woes blaming the problems on “declared and undeclared sanctions by western countries.”

Mugabe adopted the “Look East” policy nearly four years ago after Zimbabwe’s trading partners turned their backs on the country following presidential elections in 2002 which the opposition and w