President Emmerson Mnangagwa returned home yesterday from a highly fruitful trip to China, where his administration struck deals worth billions of dollars that will see new projects and those that stalled in the previous dispensation taking off.

After floundering for three years, the US$1 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station deal was finalised and funds to start work on units 7 and 8 of the plant will be released immediately.

The Kunzvi Project reached financial closure, with Sino Hydro and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) committing to provide resources for a dam and water treatment plant, and to rollout installation of smart prepaid water meters.

Other projects that will get immediate funding totalling about US$1 billion include Robert Mugabe International Airport expansion, a new Parliament Building, NetOne’s expansion, refurbishment of Morton Jeffrey Water Treatment Plant, and construction of a pharmaceutical factory among others.

Zimbabwe and China also signed a US$1 billion tourism memorandum of understanding.

President Xi Jinping’s government extended a special RMB1 billion (close to US$160 million) facility for Zimbabwe to draw down over three years, and US$20 million to assist President Mnangagwa’s administration.

Chinese investors offered to fund construction of roads and railways, while one wants to build a multi-million dollar five-star hotel in Victoria Falls.

Officials from Oriental State Chinese agreed to set up industrial parks in special economic zones.

On the diplomatic level, the two countries agreed to elevate relations to Strategic Partnership Status, the highest level of bilateral co-operation.

Soon after landing in Harare yesterday morning, President Mnangagwa said: “The trip was a huge, massive success. We have now escalated our relations from the all-weather friendship status to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Co-operation.

“This is the highest level which China has with other nations so Zimbabwe has been elevated to that status. When that is achieved it means that there would now be very comprehensive economic relations.

“In that regard, when we looked at our economic relations, there were some challenges facing Zimbabwe in relation to arrears of various loans or contracts or projects or agreements which had been entered into before.

“So we are able, through the wisdom of his Excellency President Xi Jinping, to de-link the past with the present.

“The present is now being opened from a new page where all the projects which we presented have been agreed to and are going to be financed; whilst the old commitments by Zimbabwe to previous projects will be worked on, but separately de-linked from the current process.”

Briefing journalists on the State Visit, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said President Mnangagwa’s administration had registered huge successes in China.

He said there was “real chemistry” between Zimbabwe’s Head of State and President Xi.

“This, was in summary, what I would call a rejuvenated relation between two brother nations,” said Dr Moyo

“It has been action packed in as far as concretising the economic interest of both countries. The success story is that Zimbabwe was offered Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which is higher level from the usual all-weather friendship which existed over the years.”

Dr Moyo also said China had agreed not to judge Zimbabwe on the failures of the previous administration.

“President Xi’s government accepted to de-link that whole process and gave a new blank check to Zimbabwe’s current administration.

“We pledged to be responsible for the legacy debt, but as far as those debts were going to be an impediment for us to implement the existing projects, at least that has been de-linked. Zimbabwe was given a new life line as far its economic trajectory is concerned.”

Dr Moyo said the visit had created space for major infrastructure investments. state media