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P22m Chinese loan will fund developments

Gaborone-Botswana has expressed appreciation to the Chinese government’s continued provision of development loans to the country at affordable rates.

Speaking at the signing ceremony for a loan worth more than P22 million in Gaborone, finance minister, Mr Baledzi Gaolatlhe thanked China for the soft loan facility which was payable in 20 years and had a grace period of 10 years.

He said the interest free loan was not the first of its kind as the Chinese had availed such loans in the past to be utilized to implement projects agreed upon through consultations between the two countries.

“We have benefited from China in development projects such as building rail roads, schools and technical assistance in the form of doctors and other medical specialists,” he said.

He said the loan came at the right time during the global economic downturn when many of the projects which yielded revenue such as diamonds were not performing.

On other issue, he said the loan was welcomed as it would add to the development potential of Botswana.

For his part, the Chinese ambassador to Botswana, Mr Ding Xiaowen explained that it was not common for a country to give interest free loans during a global financial crisis. He said China had been doing this to Botswana for the last 33 years in support of development projects.

“China is very happy with this relationship and hopes to see it continue for many years to come,” he said.

Mr Ding noted that the loan was signed late in the year because they were still negotiating for a substantial amount to be availed.

He also highlighted that next year the country might even get a better share of developmental loans from China.

On other issues, he said a youth centre would be built, while P30 million would be made available to build the botanical gardens.

He also thanked Botswana for her support to China internationally and assured that China would continue to play a part in the development of Botswana. BOPA

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