Gaborone — Botswana regards China as a strategic development partner and hopes to see the country's enhanced participation in Botswana's economic diversification agenda.
This was said by Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Mr Nonofo Molefhi at the first session of the Joint Committee on Economy, Trade, Investment and Technical Cooperation in Gaborone on yesterday (May 22).
Speaking in his capacity as acting Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Molefhi said government encouraged Chinese business to explore sustainable partnerships and manufacturing opportunities in Botswana, especially within the country's special economic zones.
Mr Molefhi said Botswana was open for investment that would boost its productive capacity and facilitate the transfer of much needed skills and technologies.
Botswana, he said, was ready to utilise platforms such as next month's China Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) to showcase its products as well as raise awareness on investment opportunities in the country.
The minister said Botswana appreciated the support and benevolence China had extended to it over the years.
Mr Molefhi said the relations between the two countries had yielded beneficial cooperation in varied areas of human development and a remarkable growth in people to people interaction.
He said it was pleasing that Botswana and China continued to enjoy friendship and fruitful cooperation underpinned by mutual trust and understanding.
The session, he said, was meant to reaffirm Botswana's commitment to supporting the One China Policy, a clear testimony of the common resolve to deepen and widen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
"This is the aspiration of our two presidents as espoused in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi during his state visit to China in August last year, " he said.
Areas identified in the MoU such as agriculture, manufacturing and processing, commerce and logistics, tourism and human resource development were critical to advancing Botswana's development goals, said Mr Molefhi.
He said the two presidents had provided strategic direction on the course of the relations and the scope of their cooperation.
The task, under the ambit of the committee, he explained, was to ensure full implementation of all commitments and explore new areas, with a view to enhance the strategic partnership.
Mr Molefhi said highlights of Chinese support to Botswana included financing the construction of a primary school in Mmopane through a P140 million grant and that of another primary school in Kazungula through yet another grant of P125 million as well as scholarships and training for both public service personnel and private scholars.
For his part, the vice minister of China's Ministry of Commerce, Mr Qian Keming said the first session of the committee would cement the long-lasting relations between the two countries.
Mr Qian said the main objective of the committee was to grow the economy of the two countries through mutual relations and for the benefit of their peoples.
Source : BOPA