China Has Built and Is Preparing to ‘Give’ a $140 Million Parliament Building to Zimbabwe

China’s Shanghai Construction Group, fully funded by Beijing, has completed a $140 million parliament building in Zimbabwe and is preparing to “give” it to the country officially.

The South China Morning Post reports in a new video (immediately below) that China’s Shanghai Construction Group has completed construction on a brand new $140 million parliament building for the African country of Zimbabwe. The project—fully funded by Beijing (i.e. the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP)—began in 2018, but saw its progress slow due to COVID-19 pandemic measures. The building comes as one of many investments China has made in the country, which now amount to half of Zimbabwe’s annual GDP.

“The [building for parliament] is the latest in a series of grand projects across Africa that are designed to deepen Beijing’s influence on the continent where China is already the largest trading partner and lender,” the Post reports. The news outlet adds that “The 650-seat building will replace the current colonial-era structure which has only 100 seats for Zimbabwe’s 350 legislators.”

The building—which towers over a landscape of dirt ground upon which a sparse population of shacks and farming structures sits—has six floors and is able to house both the upper and lower houses of the Zimbabwean Parliament. The entire complex spans more than 355,000 square-feet and has parking for 800 vehicles.

Aside from the building for parliament, China has made other, relatively monumental investments in Zimbabwe. In the video immediately above from June of 2021 news outlet WION notes that China’s combined investments in the country are worth $10 billion—although perhaps now only $7 billion considering China’s withdrawal of funding for a $3 billion local coal plant—while Zimbabwe’s GDP is only $20 billion. WION, taking the point-of-view that Zimbabwe has taken a “deal with the devil” by accepting such enormous investments from China, claims that 80 Chinese companies are now operating in Zimbabwe, and, on at least some occasions, treating local employees “like slaves.”

WION also notes in its report that Zimbabwe—under the leadership of former president Robert Mugabe—began accepting investments from China in 2003 as a part of its “Look East Policy” (or LEP); Zimbabwe turned to China at the time as it wasn’t able to find interested capital in the U.S. or Europe.

“When Zimbabwe was almost collapsing… no one came to the aid of Zimbabwe except for the People’s Republic of China,” First Vice-President of Zimbabwe Constantine Chiwenga says in the CGTN Africa video immediately above from September of 2021. In reference to a local newspaper disseminating a report that the U.S. had hired writers to develop stories that could come between China and Zimbabwe, Chiwenga added that some people are “trying to blacken what has been achieved through the help from the People’s Republic of China. [But] that misinformation, disinformation, no matter how they will scream or shout, it is not going to destroy that comprehensive strategic partnership between the two people[s].” (This portion of the clip, incidentally, is worth watching for the Freudian slip.)

In the image immediately above is a look at the current building the Parliament of Zimbabwe uses. Immediately below is a look at the new $140 million compound that was posted to Twitter by The video, which is one of the rare ones to capture footage that faces away from the parliamentary building, shows the new 355,000-square-foot complex looming large atop its mountain; overlooking a sea of anemic fields apparently delineated for farming, and a sky heavy with gray clouds.

Feature image: The South China Morning Post

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