The Chinese government through its embassy expressed rare annoyance with the Zimbabwean government following the publication of figures showing China’s aid to Zimbabwe during the National Budget made by the Finance Minister before Parliament.

At the heart of it all, according to the Finance Minister Zimbabwe received a paltry $3.6 million in aid over the course of the year. This prompted critics to create tables and infographics mocking China’s support to Zimbabwe which appeared to be dwarfed by Western Aid to the country.

Something that did not go well with Bejing’s representatives in Zimbabwe who were quick to issue a rebuke and state that they had given aid of over $136 million to Zimbabwe during the stated period. A huge discrepancy. China being Zimbabwe’s only big ally and all-weather friend, Russia sometimes wavers, the government was rattled and promised to look into it.

It appears from the joint statement issued after the meeting between Zimbabwe and Chinese officials that the issue might be an accounting one. It’s probably a discrepancy between what constitutes aid and what’s a loan or a grant.

The Statement that doesn’t give a reconciled figure

Press Statement on China’s Bilateral Support to Zimbabwe

1 on the 19th of November 2019, the Chinese Embassy in Harare, queried figures captured in the 2020 National Budget Statement

2 On the 20th of November 2019, officials from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Zimbabwe held a cordial meeting. The Government of Zimbabwe acknowledges the assistance received from the People’s Republic of China on the following projects

Upgrading of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport

The New Parliament Building

Rehabilitation of Hwange 7 and 8

Cyclone Idai

Mahusekwa District Hospital

Food Aid and

Borehole drilling programme

3 Further, the People’s Republic of China has provided the Republic of Zimbabwe with Loands and Grants for other projects

4 The two sides have reached an agreement on the facts and figures contained in the STatement issued by the Embassy on the 19 of November 2019 and 2020 National Budget Statement. The two sides agreed to continue working on a common accounting mechanism.

5 The Government of Zimbabwe appreciates the support it continues to receive from its all-weather friend., the People’s Republic of China and acknowledges the determination of China to develop closer cooperation with Zimbabwe.

Hon, Prof. M. Ncube
Minister of Finance and Economic Development

20 November 2019