HARARE, March 14 (Xinhua) -- China will intensify trade and economic cooperation with Zimbabwe, and come to the country's aid after a devastating drought has left almost half of the population food insecure and requiring aid.
Incoming Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun told reporters soon after presenting his credentials to President Emmerson Mnangagwa Thursday at State House that China was ready to further enhance ties with Zimbabwe.
"We have made great achievements on the practical cooperation over the last few years and we are very confident that we will have more successful cooperation in the future," Guo said.
"Also, we have very strong political, mutual trust. We support each other in bilateral occasions and I think we will continue with such successful cooperation in the future." Guo said.
Guo said China was keen to intensify trade and economic ties with Zimbabwe to help the struggling southern African country to revive its economy.
It was in this vein that China was implementing important infrastructure development projects in Zimbabwe, some of which had been completed, Guo said.
Among others, China completed multi-million dollar projects in Zimbabwe over the last few years including the Kariba South Hydro Power Expansion project which added 300 megawatts to the national grid and the expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport.
Last year, the Asian country also launched another project to expand the Harare International Airport as well the 1.5 billion U.S. dollars expansion of Hwange Thermal Power station by 600 MW, its biggest investment in power generation in the country so far.
Guo said China will, as usual, come to the aid of Zimbabwe after the drought which will likely reduce the country's maize output by half.
Farmer organizations are projecting the country will produce about 900,000 tonnes of the staple maize, down from 1.7 million tonnes harvested last year.
The country requires 1.8 million tonnes of grain for both human and livestock consumption annually.
The United Nations has since launched an appeal for 234 million U.S. dollars to provide food aid to about 2.2 million Zimbabweans facing hunger during the year.
It estimates that about 5.3 million Zimbabweans - nearly a third of the country's population - would require food aid in 2019 due to the combination of drought and other economic hardships.