China has signed a $1.3bn deal with Zimbabwe to help relieve an acute shortage of energy.
The Herald newspaper says Chinese companies will build
new coal mines and three thermal power stations in the Zambezi valley
on the Zambian border.
In exchange, Zimbabwe will provide China with chrome.
Zimbabwe's Vice President, Joyce Mujuru, attended the signing ceremony
Zimbabwean industry suffers from hours of power cuts every day.
"Right now we are beginning to experience power
shortages in the country," the state-owned Herald newspaper quoted
Vice-President Mujuru as saying.
Zimbabwean officials and representatives of the China Machine-Building International Corporation (CMEC) signed the deal
President Robert Mugabe, who has been shunned by Western
countries in recent years, embarked last year on a policy of
strengthening ties with China.
Chinese companies are also to rebuild Zimbabwe's rail network and provide trains and buses.
Zimbabwe is suffering from shortages of food, fuel and
foreign currency. In April, inflation passed 1,000% per annum for the
President Robert Mugabe blames domestic and foreign
enemies for the problems, while his critics point to the collapse of
agricultural exports following a controversial land reform programme.
The country is struggling to pay civil servants and is
thought to owe money to neighbours such as South Africa and Mozambique
from whom it has been importing electricity and fuel.
*Original source (BBC)
See also: "China arms sales 'fuel conflicts'"