China has accused the Zimbabwean government of understating the extent of its bilateral support, after budget figures released last week ranked China lowly against other countries.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said last week that China had provided Zimbabwe with US$3.6m in "development support" ranking it below the United States and UK, who both provided US$50m. The EU has provided US$41m in support.
In the wake of the budget, China's embassy in Harare disputed the figure, saying in a statement it was "very different from the situation on the ground."
The embassy said its records show that bilateral financial support to Zimbabwe was far greater, at US$136.8m between the period of January and September.
"The embassy wishes that the relevant departments of the Zimbabwean government will make comprehensive assessments on the statistics of bilateral supports and accurately reflect its actual situation when formulating budget statement," it said in a statement.
In response the Zimbabwean government tweeted:
Govt has noted the query raised by @ChineseZimbabwe regarding bilateral aid figures captured in the 2020 National Budget Statement. Necessary consultations are underway to establish a common accounting position. We thank the Chinese Govt for their support @zhaobaogang2011— Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting (@InfoMinZW) November 19, 2019
The Chinese embassy then responded:
Our understanding is bilateral development support shall include cash aid ( ie. humanitarian emergency assistance for disaster relief ), material aid (ie.donation of rice, medical & agricultural equipments ) & funds for major bilateral cooperation projects released by stages.— Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe (@ChineseZimbabwe) November 19, 2019