Botswana and China recently signed two agreements under the two countries’ bilateral cooperation as grant assistance for the development of Botswana roads. The agreements, signed by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo and the Ambassador of China to Botswana, Zhao Yanbo, included an economic and technical cooperation agreement totalling P340 million.
There was also an exchange of letters on the feasibility study for the Legolo and Mmopane-Gaborone road projects. The two agreements are the outcome of the implementation of the Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that was held in September last year. Matambo said the grant formed part of a three-part request to the Chinese government aimed at facilitating the development of roads across the country.
“The grant will go towards the building of two roads, one which will start from Bull n Bush to the railway line in Broadhurst and another which will provide a direct link from Mmopane to Block 8,” said Matambo.
He expressed the government’s gratitude towards the two countries’ relationship, adding that Botswana would continue fostering its alliances with China. For his part, Ambassador Zhao said the signing of the agreements was a testament to the implementation of the consensus reached by the two heads of state since the Beijing Summit of FOCAC.
Zhao said the signing of the agreement would bring much-needed infrastructure development to Botswana while simultaneously creating employment opportunities for Batswana. He said their cooperation demonstrated not only their time-honoured friendship between China and Botswana but also China’s firm commitment to supporting the economic and social development of the country.
“The Chinese side will soon send road experts to do the feasibility study for the Legolo and Mmopane-Gaborone roads according to the exchange of letters signed today,” he said.
He also stated that China took a people-oriented strategy to pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency and promised that they would always honour promises they made to Botswana. Zhao further revealed that since the summit, they had made consultations and joint efforts resulting in the signing of agreements in the areas of infrastructure, health care and people to people exchanges.
He said the Chinese Embassy would continue to work closely with the finance ministry to explore and target specific areas and projects as per the needs of Botswana in order to make joint progress and achievements in the partnerships between the two countries.