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China to Boost Zimbabwe’s Railway, Targeting Commodities Export Capacity

Sputnik News reported that Zimbabwe plans to modernize its state-owned railways with China’s experience and financial support. Before the end of June, both sides will assess the railway transportation needs and reach a consensus on the engineering workload required for reconstruction. China Railway recently signed an MOU with Zimbabwe to conduct a feasibility study on the project within this timeframe.

China’s assistance will bring Zimbabwe increased opportunities to enter the global commodity market, and infrastructure cooperation between China and Zimbabwe will undoubtedly have an impact on the economies of other African countries as well.

Zimbabwe estimates that the total railway reconstruction cost will be around $533 million, and it hopes to receive funding support from China. Zimbabwe has been unable to borrow from multilateral lending institutions due to its over 20 years of debt; the country’s external debt had reached $12.7 billion by September 2023. China recently wrote off Zimbabwe’s interest-free loans but did not disclose the amount, while still promising to help Zimbabwe find a way out of its long-standing debt crisis.

According to experts cited by Sputnik News, modernizing Zimbabwe’s railways will create favorable conditions for exporting Zimbabwe’s abundant lithium, coal, chrome, granite and other resources to world markets by enhancing the carrying capacity and speed of the nearest ports on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The planned joint project “is an extremely reasonable and forward-looking move within the framework of China’s ‘railway diplomacy.'”

The project is expected to facilitate China-Zimbabwe mineral resource cooperation and bilateral trade. With improved infrastructure and logistics efficiency, it will attract more Chinese investment in Zimbabwe across various sectors and promote higher-quality Belt and Road cooperation between the two countries.

Source: Sputnik News, May 21, 2024