When China supports Harare Mayor’s ‘Christmas Cheer Fund’

reprinted from Religion in Zimbabwe

US researchers have launched the largest public database of Chinese development finance in Africa, detailing almost 1,700 projects in 50 countries between 2000 and 2011.

A Chinese traveller is taking photos of market vendors in Bulawayo (Photo: Travel.fengniao.com)

According to UK’s The Guardian, researchers at AidData, at the College of William and Mary, have spent 18 months compiling and encodingthousands of media reports to construct the database, and hope users will contribute further detail on the projects.

There are 127 China-funded projects that spring up if you put ‘Zimbabwe’ into the search box. ‘Nigeria’ calls up 40 search results while the AidData’s researchers have calculated only 35 China development-finance-supported projects in South Africa.

For someone keeping an eye on Zimbabwe’s religious context, it might be interesting to notice that two of the 127 publicly reported projects were directly connected to faith-related initiatives.

  • In November 2002, the Chinese Embassy handed over USD 1.9 million worth of goods to the City of Harare Mayor’s ‘Christmas Cheer Fund.’ The exchange occurred between the Mayor’s wife Jabu Mudzuri and the wife of the Chinese Ambassador, Zaofen Yuan.The donation consisted of 500kg of rice, 100 baby blankets, 100 stationery kits (school bags and pencils etc), 100 t-shirts, 50 toys and sweets.
  • On November 4, 2011 President Robert Mugabe and his wife attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Grace Mugabe Foundation’s Orphanage school in Mazowe. China’s Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Groupis responsible for the building the complex at a cost of CNY 50 million [USD 8,140,000 if converted today].

Maybe some of you know of more projects financially supported by China? What would be the accountability procedures for the donated funds and goods?

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