Passengers are seen boarding a plane at the Chinese-expanded new terminal of the Victoria Falls Airport, Zimbabwe, Dec. 11, 2015. (Xinhua/Wang Yue)
HARARE, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- China on Wednesday agreed to provide Zimbabwe with a funding of about 213 million U.S. dollars for infrastructure development projects.
The funding includes those for the expansion and upgrading of the country's flagship airport, the Harare Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, construction of a new Zimbabwe parliament building and the second phase of the high-performance computing center, the third fastest computing center in Africa.
The financing agreements are the first to be signed by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa's new administration and are a fulfillment of some of the projects agreed between Zimbabwe and China during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit in 2015.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said China will continue to support the Zimbabwean government in its economic revival and social development efforts.
"The agreements we have signed today are just a testimony of our efforts and our friendship that withstands the test of time.
"As Zimbabwe's all-weather friend, the Chinese government has been committed to assisting our good friend and brother in its development path through thick and thin ever since Zimbabwe's liberation struggle," Huang said.
He said China was pleased to be lending financial support to Zimbabwe at "this new juncture of Zimbabwe's social and economic development."
Zimbabwean finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said China's financial support was testimony to the lasting friendship that exists between Zimbabwe and China.
"I want to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude and appreciation to China for the support that they have availed," Chinamasa said.
He said the infrastructure development projects were significant in that they will help create jobs for local people and boost business for local suppliers of construction materials.
He said upgrading of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport will entail expansion of the terminal building, rehabilitation of the runway, installation of the communication system, refurbishment of the fire station and new satellite station, among other works.
Financing of the project will be administered by China Export-Import Bank.
The expansion works will more than double the airport's handling capacity from the current 2.5 million passengers per year to 6 million.