Mugabe courts China as he is shunned by West.

Perhaps in a bid to diversify the country’s partners, President Robert Mugabe left for a five day trip to China. The Zimbabwe President is keen to diversify the trade partners, as the West tightens its purse. President Mugabe was among the few African leaders that were not invited for the hugely publicized US-Africa summit.

The government desperately needs a multi-billion-dollar package to rescue an economy its own advisers warn may be sliding back to the chaos of 2008 and negotiations are understood to have been underway over
the last few months with the Chinese government.

But Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, downplayed expectations, saying there was no truth to media reports Beijing would agree a US$4 billion package with Mugabe.

Still, Mugabe will be the new chair of SADC, and analysts are keenly looking whether he will play the double roles; one to bring the economy back on track after it slid in 2008, and secondly, to see which direction Mr. Mugabe will steer SADC towards. 

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