Botswana says China agreed to extend loan, cancel debt

GABORONE (Reuters) – China has agreed to extend a loan to Botswana for rail and road infrastructure as well as writing off some debt, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Saturday. Speaking at the airport on his return from this week’s China-Africa forum in Beijing, Masisi said Botswana had made a pitch to China and “I am happy to report that, judging from what President Xi Jinping told me, we were successful”. In addition to the loan and a debt cancellation of 80 million pula, China has also offered a 340 million pula ($31 million) grant, he said. “We got a little bit more than just the loan,” he told reporters. He did not disclose the size of the loan, but last week the ministry of finance said Botswana was seeking a 12 billion pula ($1.09 billion) loan for transport infrastructure. Botswana is the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value. Chinese companies, mostly state owned, are largely into construction in Botswana such as dams and roads. The bulk of the loan is expected to fund the Mosetse-Kazungula railway line project, which will link the central part of Botswana to the tourism hub in the northwest. The railway line will also promote regional trade as it will connect Botswana to Zambia via the Kazungula Bridge, currently under construction. China’s Xi offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa on Monday and wrote off some debt for poorer African nations, while warning against funds going toward “vanity projects”. Speaking at the opening of the forum, Xi said the financing would include $15 billion in aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a $20 billion credit line, a $10 billion special fund for China-Africa development, and a $5 billion special fund for imports from Africa. 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rail and road infrastructure as well as writing off some debt, Botswanau0027s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Saturday.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eSpeaking at the airport on his return from this weeku0027s China-Africa forum in Beijing, Masisi said Botswana had made a pitch to China and “I am happy to report that, judging from what President Xi Jinping told me, we were successful”. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eIn addition to the loan and a debt cancellation of 80 million pula, China has also offered a 340 million pula ($31 million) grant, he said. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003e”We got a little bit more than just the loan,” he told reporters. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eHe did not disclose the size of the loan, but last week the ministry of finance said Botswana was seeking a 12 billion pula ($1.09 billion) loan for transport infrastructure. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eBotswana is the worldu0027s leading producer of diamonds by value. Chinese companies, mostly state owned, are largely into construction in Botswana such as dams and roads.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe bulk of the loan is expected to fund the Mosetse-Kazungula railway line project, which will link the central part of Botswana to the tourism hub in the northwest.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eThe railway line will also promote regional trade as it will connect Botswana to Zambia via the Kazungula Bridge, currently under construction.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eChinau0027s Xi offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa on Monday and wrote off some debt for poorer African nations, while warning against funds going toward “vanity projects”.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eSpeaking at the opening of the forum, Xi said the financing would include $15 billion in aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a $20 billion credit line, a $10 billion special fund for China-Africa development, and a $5 billion special fund for imports from Africa. u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003e($1 u003d 10.9769 pulas)u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003c/pu003en”,”attribution”:{“type”:”default”,”content”:”Writing by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Clelia Oziel”},”images”:[{“url”:”//s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180908u0026tu003d2u0026iu003d1302242652u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE870J0″,”title”:”FILE PHOTO – Chinau0027s President Xi Jinping (R) and President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi arrive for the welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing”,”caption”:”FILE PHOTO – Chinau0027s President Xi Jinping (R) and President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi arrive for the welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 31 August 2018 Roman Pilipey/Pool via Reuters”}],”channel_stories”:[{“id”:”USKCN1LO0DV”,”updated”:1536421487,”headline”:”Basra airport targeted by rocket fire as violent protests grip Iraq”,”path”:”/article/us-iraq-protests/basra-airport-targeted-by-rocket-fire-as-violent-protests-grip-iraq-idUSKCN1LO0DV”,”image”:”//s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?mu003d02u0026du003d20180908u0026tu003d1u0026iu003d1302224830u0026ru003dLYNXNPEE870HK”},{“id”:”USKCN1LO0EO”,”updated”:1536401852,”headline”:”Russian and Syrian jets pound Idlib province after summit”,”path”:”/article/us-mideast-syria-idlib/russian-and-syrian-jets-pound-idlib-province-after-summit-idUSKCN1LO0EO”},{“id”:”USKCN1LO0GV”,”updated”:1536410067,”headline”:”Russian lawmaker: North Koreau0027s leader confirmed readiness to visit Russia – RIA”,”path”:”/article/us-russia-northkorea/russian-lawmaker-north-koreas-leader-confirmed-readiness-to-visit-russia-ria-idUSKCN1LO0GV”}],”description”:”China has agreed to extend a loan to Botswana for rail and road infrastructure as well as writing off some debt, Botswanau0027s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Saturday.u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eSpeaking at the airport on his return from this w”,”dart_zone”:”us.reuters/world/article”,”link_to_parent”:false,”show_others_in_parent”:false,”canvas_enable”:false},”translations”:{“shared”:{“disclaimer”:”Disclaimer”,”sponsored_content”:”Sponsored”,”related_coverage”:”Related Coverage”,”sponsored_topics”:”Sponsored”,”sponsored_stories”:”Sponsored”,”updated”:”Updated []”,”slideshow”:”Slideshow”,”featured”:”Featured”,”edition”:”Edition”,”trending”:”Trending”,”advertisement”:”Advertisement”,”visit_now”:”Visit Now”,”show_full_article”:”Show Full Article”,”breaking_news”:”Breaking News”,”live_update”:”Live Update”,”the_wire”:”The Wire”,”image_count”:”[] Images”,”sections”:”Sections”,”get_the_app_banner_top”:”Better questions. 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