Zimbabwe's government has caused anger by awarding contracts worth more than half a billion dollars to foreign companies, most of them Chinese, according to reports.
The $553m deals were criticised in parliament because Zimbabwe's economy is still struggling, with many people unable to find work, the independent NewsDay newspaper said.
Chinese economic activity in Africa is often a source of controversy, with allegations that China is underpaying for mineral resources and either mistreating local workers or importing its own.
Paddy Zhanda, chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on budget, finance and investment promotion, revealed the figure while presenting a report on the 2012 national budget, NewsDay said.
"$553m worth of contracts were awarded to foreign companies, and most of these to Chinese companies," Zhanda was quoted as saying. "Zimbabwe has a very high unemployment rate and a liquidity crisis and we implore the minister of finance, Tendai Biti, to stop this bleeding."
Zhanda reportedly said the projects awarded to foreigners included the construction of flats in Harare at a cost of $7m.
He added: "A few examples of these projects include construction of Lupane State University to cost $10m, National University of Science and Technology to cost $4m, a project at the University of Zimbabwe to cost $2m, Beitbridge Waterworks to cost $4m, construction of the new parliament of Zimbabwe complex in Kopje to cost $134m, and others."
Projects awarded to Chinese companies include the construction of a defence college on the outskirts of Harare.
Zimbabwe received a Chinese loan of $98m to build the college, to be repaid over 20 years through earnings from the Marange diamond fields, which are being mined by Chinese firm Anjin Investments and the Zimbabwe army.
Some of the gems, worth $160m, went on sale this week for the first time since the lifting of an international ban by the Kimberley Process. The campaign group Global Witness has withdrawn from the certification scheme in protest.
Zimbabwe's government has announced that China plans up to $10bn in investments over the next five years, more than any other country.
But members of the public recently said the government should take measures to discourage Chinese companies and other foreigners from importing cheap labour for menial jobs, NewsDay reported. Unemployment is estimated to be more than 90%.
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