HARARE (Reuters) – Foreign investment into Zimbabwe plunged 59 percent to $67 million in the first half of this year, the central bank said on Monday, reflecting worries over President Robert Mugabe's policies and the risk of investing in his country.
Mugabe, at 90 Africa's oldest leader and one of its longest-serving, is visiting China this week. Officials say he will seek funds to rebuild decaying roads, rail and power facilities and to help mechanise Zimbabwe's agriculture.
Official data show China has extended $1 billion in loans to Zimbabwe since 2009 and trade between the two nations rose to $1 billion last year from $300 million five years ago.
Mugabe has increasingly leaned on China after being shunned by Western trade and financial partners. They have been put off by concern over human rights and alleged fraud in elections won by the president and his ZANU-PF party.
Announcing the drop in foreign direct investment, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said exports, mostly minerals and tobacco, were also down 13 percent in the first half of the year, to $1.3 billion, compared with the first six months of 2013.