CHINESE ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said China was prepared to partner with the government in the establishment of a Chinese Culture Centre in Harare, where the two countries’ diverse cultures would be taught under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Shaochun made the remarks on Monday evening at the official opening of the five-day Belt and Road Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Harare.

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The BRI is an initiative that the Chinese government put forward in 2013 in order to encourage greater global policy co-ordination, infrastructure connectivity, investment and trade co-operation, financial integration, cultural and people-to-people.

“To further deepen cultural relations and to promote more cultural exchanges, we hope we could work with the Zimbabwean government to build a Chinese Cultural Centre here in the near future,” Shaochun said.

The Chinese ambassador said the centre would facilitate cultural exchange programmes which will see an increase in the number of trips by Zimbabwean and Chinese artistes to both countries.

Shaochun said China and Zimbabwe enjoyed great partnership, including co-operation in major projects under the BRI framework meant to foster an appreciation of each other’s cultural diversities.

“Our co-operation in culture, arts, health and education has been fruitful in recent years. The Dream Star Talent Show has helped talented Zimbabwean young men and women to discover themselves. Each year, we have multiple wonderful artistic troupes who visit China and Zimbabwe, respectively,” he said.

Shaochun applauded Zimbabwean artists and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) for their hard work that he said had popularised Zimbabwean art around the globe.

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation acting minister Kazembe Kazembe said the close relationship between NACZ and NGZ had improved the working relationship among local artists.

“We hope this new programme will become a permanent feature on our national gallery’s calendar of events every year. It enhances their (artists) visibility, entrenches them in international co-operation and, indeed, widens their market,” Kazembe said in a speech read on his behalf by the ministry’s principal director Benson Dube.

Kazembe said the platform helped create opportunities for artists to interrogate parallels in their working processes and strategies.

Meanwhile, the curtain will come down on the Belt and Road Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange programme today.