Africa-Press – Botswana. Outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Botswana, Mr Wang Xuefeng has been described as a true friend of Botswana.

Speaking at Wang’s farewell reception in Gaborone on April 4, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Lemogang Kwape said Ambassador Wang distinguished himself by enhancing network and community outreach programmes across the country adding that his affable manner allowed him to strengthen the two countries relations through dialogue, collaboration and friendships.

Dr Kwape thanked him for the role he played in strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two countries, saying his legacy of goodwill would endure forever.

He noted that Mr Wang arrived in 2021 when the world was battling COVID-19, saying it posed a challenge to the execution of his mandate given the restrictions necessitated by the pandemic.

He however said through his determination and diplomatic intervention, he facilitated Botswana’s response to the pandemic by mobilising the much needed support. “As a result, Botswana received invaluable assistance, including medical supplies, technical expertise and knowledge sharing which were instrumental to response efforts,” said Dr Kwape.

He said during the ambassador’s tenure, Botswana witnessed significant milestones in the bilateral relations between Botswana and China. He noted that he was instrumental in advancing cooperation in a number of areas, including capacity building, infrastructure development, health care and contributing to Botswana’s socio-economy development goals.

Dr Kwape also said through Mr Wang’s efforts Botswana and China were able to conclude bilateral agreements in the areas of agriculture and food security as well as an extradition treaty in 2021. “Other notable milestones achieved during the ambassador’s tenure include preparing the groundwork for the commencement of the Gaborone–Mmopane road works and Legolo Road through a grand funding of P340 million,” said Dr Kwape.

He also said he facilitated the completion of Ramaeba Primary School through a grant of P125 million.

He further said under his direction there was collaboration in areas of culture and education, noting that since 2021, 151 Batswana received short-term in-service training and 153 long-term scholarship from China.

Furthermore, Dr Kwape said the second Confucius institute opened on October 2023 in Palapye and that it presented an opportunity for young people to learn Chinese.

For his part, Ambassador Wang expressed gratitude to President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and First Lady Neo Masisi for their support to help him in performing his duties.

He said their strong support was an important driving force for the further expansion and deepening of China-Botswana exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

He further extended gratitude to various leaders and government officials as well as all communities in Botswana, saying their presence in their lives made their stay a beautiful and memorable one.

Furthermore, he appreciated the Chinese enterprises, China medical team, Confucius Institute and all Chinese communities in Botswana, saying they were important bridges and bonds that promoted China-Botswana friendship and cooperation.

He urged them to continue making more contributions to the friendly exchanges between the two countries.

Mr Wang reiterated that since his arrival on April 8, 2021, he witnessed the continued development and progress of bilateral relations between China and Botswana. “The exchanges between government, parliament, political parties and non-governmental sectors of the two countries have become even closer,” he said.

He also said China and Botswana had implemented the nine programmes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) proposed by President Xi Jinping, and expanded cooperation in agriculture, health care, education, infrastructure, digital construction and other fields.

Mr Wang also noted that in 2023 the total trade volume between China and Botswana increased by 15.7 per cent to US$710 million with an optimised trade structure.

He further said they steadily promoted major cooperation projects such as the Botswana beef exportation.

“The 17th China medical team will be dispatched to Botswana very soon,” he said, adding that he believed the upcoming 9th meeting of FOCAC would open a new chapter for the development of China-Botswana relations.

He also said they would miss the warmth and hospitality of Batswana in many villages who always welcomed them with traditional singing and dancing and the most delicious food, adding that his favourite food was “seswaa.”

Furthermore, he promised to always be the envoy for China-Botswana friendship, adding that he was convinced that under the strategic guidance of the two countries heads of state, the relations would go far and achieve greater success in building China-Africa community with a shared future.

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