China has agreed to help Zimbabwe avoid a total economic meltdown.

Without the promise of assistance from Beijing that came last month, Zimbabwe could not even begin to pay its civil servants, police, and soldiers their monthly wages. Nor, without China’s support, could Zimbabwe continue to import oil and gas, and crucial foodstuffs with which to feed its people.

Ever since President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) unexpectedly won a possibly rigged parliamentary and presidential election last year, defeating the reformist Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe’s economy has been in free fall. A number of banks have failed. Hundreds of businesses have collapsed. Some 80 percent of working age adults are unemployed.

To read the full version of the article from Wilson Center Fellow Robert Rotberg, please visit: