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The Zimbabwean Minister of Investment Promotion says the Chinese are mainly interested in mineral resources, including diamonds. "These diamonds are alluvial, so you can literally mine them with a spoon or the sole of your heel," says Biti. Last month, it announced a $700 million-loan aimed at, among other things, rejuvenating Zimbabwe's agricultural sector.
China has been doing business with Zimbabwe for years -- Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi has said in the past that the two economies "are cut out for each other." There are currently five companies -- two of which are Chinese -- with licenses to operate in the diamond fields near the Mozambique border.“And the Chinese weapons shipment which arrived in 2008, just at the time when violence broke out around the Zimbabwean elections, was very embarrassing. They really did not like that,” he added.
“China gets embarrassed when embarrassing details become public,” said Philip Barclay, a former British diplomat in Harare and the author of Zimbabwe, Years of Hope and Despair.
According to Tapiwa Mashakada, the Zimbabwean Economic planning minister, Mr Yang may be carrying with him as much as $10 billion of investment from Beijing.