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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
says bi-lateral ties with Britain are improving

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he is happy with the gradual improvement of relations between Zimbabwe and Britain and several other Western countries that had sided with London when ties between the two countries soured over two decades ago.

Britain, Zimbabwe’s former colonial power, became hostile when Zimbabwe expropriated land from whites for redistribution to the landless black majority.

The program, meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances, drew the ire of Britain, which then internationalized the issue, resulting in the European Union and the United States imposing economic sanctions on Harare.

Since November 2017, the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe has embarked on a re-engagement program to restore relations with Britain and other Western countries.

Mnangagwa told a meeting on Sunday of Zimbabweans based in the United States that the land reform program is a closed chapter, and that London now fully appreciates that position, state news agency New Ziana reported Monday.

"We are now talking.

"We have escalated our relations from officials to ministerial level.

"Very soon, perhaps, it will go beyond ministerial level," he said.

"We are where we are as a result of the decision we took on the land reform program.

"Be clear, I am not regretting that we took back our land.

"The land reform is irrevocable.

"Fortunately, even the British now accept that the issue is dead," Mnangagwa was quoted as saying.

"We are discussing with mutual respect to move forward."

The president said he would meet British Minister of State for Africa Harriett Baldwin on the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly to further consolidate ties.

Zimbabwe, he added, had lived in isolation for too long hence the need to focus on improving relations with the global community.

"We cannot anymore live in the past nor do we desire to live in the past," he said.

Mnangagwa said progress is being made toward the country attaining its vision of becoming a middle-income economy by 2030.

"At the time this dispensation came into office in November last year, the per capita income was around 900 U.S. dollars.

"But within eight months we have moved to 1,500 dollars per capita and we are saying that our goal is to reach 3,500 per capita by 2030 and by then it means we shall become an upper middle-income economy," he said.

Mnangagwa said the task to revive the economy is a process, which requires concerted efforts including from Zimbabweans living in the diaspora.

"I have no doubt that you have gained a lot of international exposure.

"The good side of what happened is that we now have a body of skilled Zimbabweans residing outside and with our current thrust for modernizing, industrializing, mechanizing, reforming and growing our economy, we have to draw from this reservoir of skills from our people abroad," he said.


Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
dismisses alleged 'debt trap' by China

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Sunday dismissed claims that his country may fall into a debt trap by China, saying a large portion of Harare’s debt to Beijing was for projects which generate revenue to service the loans.

He made the remarks during a meeting with Zimbabweans living in the United States, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, according to the country’s state news agency New Ziana.

China has emerged as a key investor in large infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe and has also extended concessional loans to assist in the development of the economies of many African countries.

However, some Western countries have claimed that the Chinese loans, which have funded several mega projects across Africa, leave many countries in a debt crisis.

Noting that there was nothing wrong with African countries accepting Chinese financing, the president said Zimbabwe had in particular benefited immensely from Chinese funding for the expansion of Kariba South Hydro Power Station, which added 300 MW into the national grid, and that of Hwange Power Station, which would add an additional 600 MW.

"I do not see any danger where you have a project which becomes productive in terms of revenue streams to pay for itself," he said.

"When you finish paying the loan, the asset remains with us and we will continue to have electricity so I do not see the danger there," he said.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, who is also in New York, said there was nothing sinister about the Chinese funding.

"We (Zimbabwe) have a very strong debt sustainability analysis framework which allows us to understand whether we are over indebted or not, and whether we can pay or not.

"The Chinese also do that analysis themselves and if they find out that you cannot pay they do not lend you the money, this is not free money," he said.

Zimbabwe records highest cotton output in five years'

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s cotton output in the 2018 marketing season rose by 76 percent year-on-year to 130,000 tonnes, from 70,000 tonnes last year, owing to increased government support to farmers, according to a local online publication.

The output is the highest in nearly five years, Farmers Voice said in its latest edition published Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe expects the country to get around 85 million U.S. dollars in foreign exchange through cotton exports this year.

"Owing to steep increase in production, cotton exports are expected to jump," the publication said.

Under a "Presidential Inputs Scheme," the government launched various free support initiatives to help farmers increase cotton production.

In 2011, Zimbabwe produced 268,000 tonnes of cotton, which fell to 135,000 tonnes in 2013-14 and further to 100,000 tonnes in 2014-15.

In 2016, cotton yield was just 28,000 tonnes, the lowest since 1992.

Due to government efforts, production increased to 70,000 tonnes in 2017.


Zimbabwe President re-iterates multiple currency regime to stay



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