The Minister of Youth Sport and Culture Shaw Kgathi and Chinese Ambassador to Botswana Liu Huanxing on Thursday put pen to paper to seal a deal that will see Botswana and China exchanging ideas and assisting each other in matters relating to arts, culture, sports, education and others. The 2010-2013 memorandum of understanding for the cultural cooperation agreement is part of trailblazing Sino-Botswana relationships that date back to 1975.
Ever since, relations between the two countries have blossomed, stretching beyond arts and culture to encompass the economy, science, technology, medicine, infrastructural development and many others.
The first cultural cooperation agreement between the two countries was signed in September 1991 in Beijing. Despite having different forms of governments; the two countries continue to enjoy growing cooperation from year to year.
In January 2007, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China, Li. Zhaozing, visited Botswana to sign a three year 2007-2009 Program of Action for cultural agreement in the areas of culture, art, cultural relics, radio, film, television, education and finance.
In May last year, then Minister of Education, Jacob Nkate, also visited China to sign an agreement furthering Sino-Botswana cooperation in the field of education.
“Botswana has benefited a lot from this relationship as evidenced by the annual cultural delegations exchange between the two countries. The two countries cooperate in cultural heritage preservation and administration on cultural relics. They also exchange through delegation visits, film weeks and materials on radio and television,” said Minister Shaw Kgathi.
He related the government of Botswana’s appreciation of the Peoples Republic of China’s continued assistance in areas such as agriculture, education and training, and youth, sports and culture.
Kgathi also revealed that Botswana has secured a P75 million interest free loan for the construction of the Gaborone Multi Purpose Youth Centre.
For his part Chinese Ambassador to Botswana Liu Huanxing applauded the fruitful achievements between Botswana and China, saying China remains committed to Botswana’s education development.
“China has provided 70 scholarships for Botswana students to study in China. The number grew from 21 in 2007 to 27 this year, and I think the number will increase in the coming years,” he said.
Relationships between the two countries have resulted in the establishment of the Confucius Institute at the University of Botswana and the Chinese Class, which was officially launched in September.
Ambassador Liu Huanxing further promised that the Chinese embassy will work hard to ensure that relations between the two countries remain cordial.