Botswana turns to China for infrastructure funding

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Mpho Tebele

Gaborone - Botswana has revealed that it would approach China and apply for loans to fund some of its national projects.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the Southern African nation is set to use the upcoming Forum on China Summit to request for funding for the country’s infrastructure development.

Addressing residents of Thamaga village, about 50 kilometres from the capital Gaborone, Masisi said Botswana is currently facing challenges emanating from limited government revenue streams against increasing expenditure.

Therefore, he said, he would leave for China to request funding for infrastructure development, saying either a loan at a low-interest rate or a grant was needed to develop the country’s road network among others.

Masisi will lead a Botswana delegation to the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation slated for September.

At the same public meeting in Thamaga Masisi urged the nation to come up with innovative ways to help government.

“Our country is facing challenges emanating from limited government revenue streams against increasing expenditure.  Time has come for Batswana to ask themselves if they are just waiting for government hand-overs or play a meaningful role in the economy,” said Masisi.

Touching on another topical issue, Masisi said there is need for the nation to introspection and called for behavioural change to guard against the spread of HIV and AIDS, which is one way through which government funds could be saved.

“Government is ensuring an HIV-free generation through the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTC) and therefore the onus is on citizens to protect themselves against the scourge. HIV treatment is expensive not only for government but also for affected households as those infected could lose jobs due to ill health and other expenses. Adoptive parents also find it difficult to care for orphans and government had been roped in to provide foster care,” said Masisi.

He also appealed to land boards not to be strict with the approval of the change of land use, because Batswana should be free to utilize their land in any matter that could generate income.

“This should enable Batswana to freely convert their idle farms to tourism centres, thereby generating income for themselves as well as broadening government revenue streams. However, this should not just be done indiscriminately without regard to the environment,” he said.

Masisi appealed to the farm owners not to desert them, because any idle farm would be forfeited by the state and reallocated and further said these should not be rented out to Zimbabweans as is the case with government owned farms at Glen Valley in Gaborone. 

 

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