Mugabe & Xi Jinping sign 12 deals

The Chinese leader is in Zimbabwe on a visit many hope will be a major boost for the country’s economy.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on August 25, 2014. China's President Xi hailed Mugabe -- a pariah in the West -- as a renowned African liberation leader and an "old friend" of the Chinese people. Picture: AFP.

HARARE - Zimbabweans have been reacting to news of 12 deals signed between President Robert Mugabe's government and a delegation led by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese leader touched down in Zimbabwe yesterday on a visit many hope will be a major boost for the country's economy.

An editorial in today's main state-run Herald newspaper says a new era of economic co-operation between Harare and Beijing has been ushered in.

The most significant deal signed at State House yesterday was a loan of around $1,2 billion for the desperately-needed refurbishment of the Hwange Power Station, in the west of the country.

Another deal is for the construction of a new Parliament building outside Harare.

But Some Zimbabweans are sceptical.

Opposition official David Coltart says these deals are likely to employ few Zimbabweans and involve few local companies.