China’s President Xi Jinping visited Zimbabwe on Tuesday on a rare trip by a world leader to a country shunned by western powers over President Robert Mugabe’s widely-criticised record on human rights. Xi was greeted at the airport by Mugabe, 91, who has ruled since independence in 1980, as hundreds of children waved Chinese and Zimbabwean flags along the road into the capital Harare. “The people of Zimbabwe are overjoyed to host you,” Mugabe told Xi at a state banquet. The two leaders held talks and oversaw the signing by their ministers of 10 agreements and memorandum of understanding covering energy, aviation, telecommunications and investment promotion deals to shore up Zimbabwe’s economy, which has fallen into dire straits under Mugabe’s rule. “I am glad that Zimbabwe and China speak the same language on many issues,” said Mugabe. “We share the same conviction that only a fair, just and non-prescriptive world order, based on the principles of the charter of the United Nations, can deliver the development we need.” Xi expressed “full confidence in our bilateral relations.” The Chinese president flies to Johannesburg on Wednesday ahead of a China-Africa summit which will gather leaders from across Africa. Before the two day summit begins on Friday, Xi will hold talks with South African President Jacob Zuma.