Mugabe begs China for £25bn to fix economy

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A DESPERATE Robert Mugabe has asked China for a £25 billion loan to help repair Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper said industry and trade minister Obert Mpofu had confirmed the request by the Zimbabwean government.

Mr Mpofu said the grant would help the Zimbabwe authorities "to take care of our immediate and future long-term requirements".

It would also help stabilise the economy, he said.

Analysts warn that the crippling economic crisis could prove Mr Mugabe's downfall in next month's polls. For the first time, the 84-year-old president faces two tough challengers: Simba Makoni, the former finance minister, and the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has already indicated he will ask for international help to rebuild the economy if he wins.

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate reached 100,580.2 per cent last month.

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