WHILE President Robert Mugabe and his government officials continue to blow their horns about seeking investment from China, a top company boss from that country was last week given shoddy tr
eatment by Ministry of Industry and International Trade technocrats.
What could have been an otherwise interesting and informative presentation on “Doing business with China – current opportunities for developing countries”, turned into a nightmare for Development Research Centre of the State Council boss, Long Guoqiang.
Things turned sour for the Chinese tycoon, a special guest of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), when his computer failed to perform its duties at the beginning of his presentation.
The event had to be stopped while CZI officials tried to make alternative arrangements.
When the problem was solved, Guoqiang’s time was almost up and he was rushed through his 20-minute presentation by the session’s chairman, National Economic Consultative Forum head Nicholas Katikiti.
After much embarrassment, Guoqiang told the business delegates that products worth US$128 million had been exported from Zimbabwe to the People’s Republic of China during the first half of this year.
China has a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$1,4 trillion and its gross national product (GNP) per capita is US$1 090.
Guoqiang said the country’s exports were US$438,4 billion which is ranked about fourth in the world and third in terms of its imports which amount to US$412,8 million.
There was a further fall-out during tea break when Agribank chief executive officer and former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor Sam Malaba took Katikiti aside and chided him for not allowing Guoqiang to go through his presentation.
“You do not do this to the Chinese, especially having invited them to this event,” Malaba said. “You have not only embarrassed him but he could take this further to his countrymen. These people are very sensitive about such things.”
In an interview later, Guoqiang told businessdigest that he was “not really bothered about the mishap”.
“China has many opportunities and I just wanted to show Zimbabweans what they can offer us,” he said. “You can send tobacco, food items and leather and there are opportunities in tourism.”
China has several projects in Zimbabwe especially with the profit-making Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe led by Mike Ndudzo.
The Chinese also built the National Sports Stadium and Chinhoyi University.