HARARE - Zimbabwe has secured $950 million in credit from China to help rebuild its economy, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Tuesday, the biggest offer from a single country since the unity government was formed.
Zimbabwe has appealed to the world for a financial stimulus package for its devastated economy, and says it needs $10 billion to rebuild dilapidated infrastructure and ease a 90 percent unemployment rate.
The government through the minister of finance, secured credit lines of almost $950 million from China, Tsvangirai said in a news conference.
He said a three-week tour he conducted of the United States and Europe had yielded pledges totalling more than $500 million.
The amount of assistance that was raised on my visit to Europe and the United States does not reflect the enormous support we will be able to utilise if we are to fulfil all our political obligations, he said.
He said other promises of aid would be realised only when Zimbabwe created a democracy and improved human rights after what critics say was President Robert Mugabe's repressive rule.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change in February formed a fragile coalition administration with Mugabe's ZANU-PF to end a long-running political crisis and a decade of economic ruin.
Zimbabwe has warned a lack of foreign support would put a recovery plan drawn up by the unity government in peril.
If we want outside assistance, we must first prove that we are able to fulfil the obligations we have undertaken within the agreement that was brokered by (regional grouping) SADC, Tsvangirai said.
PEACEFUL PROTESTORS BEATEN
Actions speak louder than words and while I was away there were instances of peaceful protestors being beaten by our police, innocent individuals arrested on trumped up charges and continued vilification of the MDC by the state media.
Mugabe denies the rights abuse charges levied against him, and insists the West has withheld aid mainly in protest over his controversial seizure of white-owned commercial farms for resettlement among blacks.
Mugabe has tried to boost economic ties with Asian countries such as China and Malaysia.
Beijing and Chinese companies have pledged tens of billions of dollars to Africa in loans and investments, mostly to secure raw materials for the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Its trade with the continent has jumped by an average 30 percent a year this decade, reaching nearly $107 billion in 2008.
I would also like to state that in our drive to rebuild Zimbabwe, we are not limited to a Look West or Look East policy, but rather we are committed to engaging our friends in all parts of the globe, Tsvangirai said.
Cracks have emerged in the fledgling government, and the MDC has asked SADC to mediate in a dispute over the appointment of the central bank governor and attorney general.
Tsvangirai said while his party was still pursuing regional intervention to fully implement the deal, he still hoped the dispute could be resolved without the bloc's involvement, and he would engage Mugabe upon the president's return from an African Union summit in Libya.