Economic repercussions of the Look East Policy in Zimbabwe
In 2003, Zimbabwe formally announced the Look East Policy (LEP) in the face of economic sanctions by the West. This, coupled with the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) of 2000, has strengthened trade and bilateral investments between Zimbabwe and China. China is increasingly involved in Zimbabwe's agriculture, mining, construction and tourism industries. There is also an influx of Chinese entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe's retail industry. The repercussions of the LEP have been mixed. In this policy brief, the authors critically engage with three sectors: agriculture, mining and the informal sector; in order to provide an overview of the effects that LEP has had on Zimbabwe focusing on the period 2010-2016. They also propound some recommendations for more positive outcomes in the future.
It is likely that Zimbabwe will continue its strong relationship with China. This is notwithstanding, the fact that it is China that stands to benefit more from interaction with Zimbabwe in terms of natural resource wealth extraction and trade, as compared to the little financial aid being poured into Zimbabwe by Beijing. The evolvement of Sino-Zimbabwe relations will however, remain a matter of strategic interests at play. In this regard, it is noteworthy to highlight that the Chinese government has of late been reluctant to commit to financial investment given the political climate in the country. The recent introduction of the Indigenisation policy in Zimbabwe has also negatively affected Chinese companies particularly in the mining industry.