African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Full Length Research Paper

A critical analysis of whether Zimbabwe can achieve economic development through its ‘Look East Policy’

Shingairai Belinda Mudavanhu
  • Shingairai Belinda Mudavanhu
  • Zimbabwe Open University, P.B. 684 Bindura, Zimbabwe.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 09 January 2013
  •  Accepted: 17 September 2014
  •  Published: 30 November 2014


The aim of the paper is to critically analyse the potential of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy, specifically the Look East Policy at stimulating economic development and growth. This analysis is based solely on selected secondary material. In response to external and internal pressure, the government of Zimbabwe redesigned its foreign policy outlook with the aim of establishing relations with countries in the East like China as an alternative to the fragmented links with the West. Zimbabwe’s target is to create and sustain relations with states that it supposedly shares common goals with. China, regardless of its famous proclamation that it is driven by a desire to help the oppressed, pursues foreign policies that promote its own national interests. China is seeking opportunities to boost its economic and political status in the international system. Zimbabwe, while seeking similar goals, lacks proper guiding structures and appears to be closely associated with ZANU-PF to an extent that one is tempted to conclude that it is more of a political slogan rather than a proper foreign policy. Zimbabwe has turned into a predatory state which is on the verge of total collapse. The ruling elite are concerning themselves with security political posts as a means to accessing personal wealthy at the expense of national development. The potential of the LEP can only be realised when Zimbabwe policy makers put the needs of electorates ahead of personal gains and develop a strategic approach to its relationship with Beijing. The government of Zimbabwe needs to realise that if China does indeed become a super power it is likely going to impose its will on its weaker associates. Before positive economic development outcomes can be produced by the LEP, Zimbabwe has to change its position in this partnership.

Key words: Look East Policy, economic development, failed state, sovereignty, state.