Desperate dictator: China refuses Robert Mugabe’s request for Zimbabwe bailout
Last fall, the needy nation figured on $30 billion in direct budgetary aid from the Middle Kingdom. Now it appears the figure will be zero.

By Mxosili Ncube, Correspondent / March 10, 2014

Last November, China pledged to give Africa some $1 trillion in aid over the next 12 years.

At the time, a clearly bedazzled Mugabe regime, just re-elected in late July, told itself, its creditors, and its citizens that Zimbabwe would reap a windfall of some $30 billion in Chinese loans and grants. It sent a series of delegations to Beijing for that purpose.

Zimbabwe and its autocrat, President Robert Mugabe, need the money. The country is isolated, financially tattered, and increasingly desperate economically. Its financial obligations are $11 billion in arrears, and with its ongoing ideological standoff against the West, the nation is unable to borrow from the IMF, the World Bank and the UN. It has no viable industries, and with more than 85 percent of the population unemployed and an estimated 20-25 percent of Zimbabweans living outside the nation, an inability to secure a stability loan could breed serious political problems.

It appeared that China would step in, solve the autocrat’s problems, validate his so-called “Look East” policy, and gain a stronger foothold in southern Africa. The bailout would help stabilize the government and pacify a growing trend of middle- and working-class anger at the poor economy and corruption. The aid was being called a “friendly boost.”

Yet in what appears to be an embarrassing slap, China’s much-touted bail-out – or at least Mugabe’s portrayal of it – now appears to have fallen through.

Mugabe’s spokesmen have steadily downgraded the size of China’s support – from $30 billion to $10 billion, to $3 billion, and then, in February, to $400 million.

Now it appears China won’t play Santa Claus at all. In what may be a harbinger of a tougher approach, it last week apparently ruled out any direct aid.

“We don’t normally provide budgetary support to other countries but we try to help Zimbabwe in our own way,” the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe told reporters.

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Chinese officials and the business community in Shanghai told the most recent Zimbabwe delegation, headed by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, that he needed to offer bankable projects instead of promises like the one he tried to sell Beijing to get cash.

Mr. Chinamasa had sought funding for the giant Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset), a $27 billion plan to bring economic revival. Zimbabwe’s entire annual budget is $4.5 billion, to give a sense of how large the request was.

Chinamasa’s delegation tried to secure loans using the nation’s mineral reserves as security. But the Chinese demanded an accounting of when Mugabe’s projects would break even, and how a payment plan would work – which Chinamasa did not appear to have ready.

“Mugabe cannot economically hold fort from now till 2018 without a huge financial boost, so we are likely to see more trips to China,” says Clive Moyo, an economic analyst based in Johannesburg.

“But, as we have seen in past times, such trips have mostly been fruitless when they concern huge financial aid, yet we keep trying. We are now like gamblers who keep putting money and efforts toward trying to land the jackpot, only to see yet another heavy loss. Unfortunately, no one else can bail us out, so it [is] a vicious cycle of hopes and heartbreaks.”

Since their controversial election victory last July 31, the Zanu (PF) government’s pleas for funding have gone unheeded, as more and more doors seem to be closing in their bid to turn around an economy that has faced 15 years of questionable management. Earlier this winter Chinamasa failed in trips to Washington to secure IMF and World Bank loans.

The African Development Bank estimates Zimbabwe needs $14 billion to pay back lenders and be eligible for aid that stopped in 1999 because of arrears.


  1. Why is Zimbabwe referred to as dictatorship when they have regular elections and a functioning parliamentary system ? China on the other hand don’t do elections..

    1. Yes they have elections BUT its people have no much say. For the past 10 10 15years Mugabe has been loosing elections but for some reason he keeps ruling. Did you know in Zimbabwe when mugabe is passing everything has to stand still or get shot even little kids playing have to stand still. It is a country ruled by ONLY his law. Tsvangirai is related to Mugabes wife so he aint got much say neither. If it was run in all fairness mugabe would have been in power all now. Parliamentary or no parliamentary Mugabe word goes no matter what. You can not live in that country and say anything bad about him and expect not to disapear.

      1. China’s aim is to become the next world power. Poor Jamaica, mi deh yah a pree the Bible ah fulfill and ah wonder if China is the red army/ horse. Mi did think mi woulda safe inna mi country of wood and water ,can always live off a di land, suh mi did ah plan mi escape from America/Babylon but when mi check out di levels look like ah Africa mi haffi guh run guh.

        1. Yes oo because Portia ready fi sell we out. They want to occupy the world by any means necessary first it was the sugar deal now goat islands. Dem run go ina Zimbabwe fi di likkle diamonds so Im wondering what mek dem a back out now..When in Rev talk bout di red army?

          1. Met dem changing dem mind is for the good of Africa trust and believe dat. What u think is a curse is a blessing. God is providing a place for his people to have refuge when the persecution starts.

  2. In Revelations 6:4. It speaks of a red horse . China is infamous for its Red army, since the inception of communism which they adapted from Russia. I may be misinterpreting because the Bible is full of parables but I know something is up. Sumpin in a sumpin.

      1. Yes Met guh read because after di red horse comes the black horse which I believe will be the new world order then after that death and hell ah guh unleash pon di world. All ah dem ah rally fi be the ruler of the world but there is only one ruler and that is Jesus Christ.

  3. This will never happen in Jamaica that is a long stretch of a comparison as much as some people dislike Portia she is no Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe is a dictatorship those sham elections is just a sham.

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