Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Zimbabwe as he begins his trip to Africa where he is expected to sign major deals.
President Xi’s visit to Zimbabwe is the first by a Chinese president since 1996 and is seen to have come at a perfect time when relations between the two countries are growing much better.
The Chinese president is on a two-day visit to Zimbabwe, after which he will fly to South Africa to meet President Jacob Zuma before proceeding to co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit that will be held in Johannesburg.
During his stay in Zimbabwe, President Xi is expected to sign major deals with President Mugabe.
President Mugabe made a visit to China in August 2014 where he met President Xi Jinping, and the two are reported to have witnessed the signing of nine bilateral cooperation documents.
China and Zimbabwe established diplomatic relations on the very day of Zimbabwe’s independence and since then, there has been steady and fruitful development as China has become Zimbabwe’s largest source of foreign investment.
Trade between the two countries reached $1.24 billion in 2014, marking a year-on-year increase of 12.7 per cent.
Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe has described China as a “best friend” on the international stage.
Mugabe said that he will confer with President Xi on bilateral cooperation in multiple areas.
He went on to say that Harare hopes for China’s help in carrying out some key economic and public-welfare projects so as to speed up the country’s socio-economic development.
China is also Africa’s biggest trading partner, with the trade volume between the two reported to have hit $220 billion in 2014 according to state news agency Xinhua.