ZIMBABWE has potential to grow tremendously into a viable and enviable economy on the continent despite sanctions imposed by the West, a top Chinese academic has said.
Addressing journalists during a seminar last week in Jinhua in China’s Zhejiang Province, the director and founder of the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, Prof Liu Hongwu, said Zimbabwe’s economic recovery hinged on harnessing its natural resources and commitment to attracting foreign investment from friendly countries as well as boosting the agricultural and mining sectors.
“We are aware that sanctions have been imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries because of the land reform programme. However, the country has a lot of potential to grow economically. The country should thrive to attract foreign investors from countries such as China among others,” he said.
Prof Liu said Zimbabwe’s potential lies in its natural resources.
“Zimbabwe has natural resources and land and I believe those are some of the tools that can be used to grow the economy,” he said.
Prof Liu said Zimbabwe could learn from China about economic transformation.
“China was poor in the last 30 years but today we are the second largest economy in the world after the United States. I believe the same can happen with Zimbabwe whose population cannot be compared with our huge population. Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from China in terms of economic transformation,” he said.
China is Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend and the two countries enjoy cordial relations dating back to the time of the liberation struggle.
Prof Liu praised President Mugabe, describing him as a revolutionary leader with a vision for the country. He also commended Zimbabwe’s education system.
“Zimbabwe has the best education system in Africa. That should be another tool to transform the country’s economy,” he said.
“Zimbabwe should also thrive on having more special economic zones.”
Prof Liu dispelled the myth as portrayed by Western media that China is exploiting Africa and plundering resources.
“We have partnered Africa in so many ways and it’s a win-win situation but the Western media distorts the information. We need to tell our own story,” he said.
“Self independence is what China has. We can’t copy the British or Americans and the same should happen to Africa. In fact, Africa is portrayed in bad light by the western media,” he said.
China’ railway line and road network is rated among the best in the world. By 2012, its railway had reached 100 000km, ranking it the second in the world. Only recently China launched the world’s fastest speed train travelling at 350km per hour. The bullet train plies the Shanghai-Beijing route.