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Ambassador Sun Xianghua's Remarks at the Framework- Agreement Signing Ceremony for the Concessional Loan for the Construction of Ha Mpiti to Sehlabathebe Road

(Dr. Sun Xianghua, Ambassador of China, Mar. 1, 2018)


Your Honorable Dr. Moeketsi Majoro, Minister of Finance

Your Honorable Mr. Maliehe Prince Maliehe, Minister of Public Works and Transportation

Your Honorable Mr. Halebonoe Setsabi, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations

Distinguished Guests,

Friends from the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen


It is my great honor to sign the Framework Agreement for the Concessional Loan for the Construction of the Ha Mpiti to Sehlabathebe Road on behalf of the Government of People's Republic of China. The signing of this Agreement shows that our two governments have reached an agreement on working together to make the Ha Mpiti-Sehlabathebe Road a reality.


The Ha Mpiti-Sehlabathebe Road is one of the major projects that China and Lesotho will implement under the framework of the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which was held in December 2015. This road is of strategic significance to Lesotho, and its impact is multifold:


1.      It'll further complete the road parameter of Lesotho, and make the travel to the Sehlabathebe National Park (Lesotho's only World Heritage Park) more convenient, efficient and safe, thus attracting more visitors, promoting the tourism development, and increasing the job creation in the relevant sectors.


2.      It'll further facilitate the economic, logistic and people-to-people exchanges and communication at the border area with South Africa, thus enhance the economic and social development of the south-eastern area of Lesotho.


3.      It'll further alleviate the challenges and hardships of transportation facing the people and communities along this road, making their daily lives much easier, including going to schools or clinics.


4.      During the construction period, jobs will be created, large amount of building materials will be procured locally and some local contractors will be engaged, thus providing a skills-transfer platform and more business opportunities.


Honorable Ministers, distinguished guests, the shortages of infrastructures, funding and trained talents have been the three bottlenecks that have been holding back Africa's sustainable development for decades. In recent years, the government of China has stepped up its comprehensive efforts in assisting Africa's economic and social development, by attaching special attention to the above three key sectors. The signing of this Concessional Loan Agreement is a vivid example of the Chinese government's support to Lesotho in improving its infrastructure development. Since the beginning of this year, the Governments of China and Lesotho have reached agreements on two major infrastructure projects, namely the Maseru District Hospital and Eye Clinic Project which will be utilizing a grant from the Chinese government, and the Ha Mpiti-Sehlabathebe Road. As you all may be aware, in January this year, a team of engineers visited Lesotho to carry out a preliminary study on Maseru Fire Station and other two projects. I hope the visit will bear tangible results in the near future. These infrastructures, together with the National Library, the Parliament building, the Manthabiseng Convention Centre, the China-Lesotho Friendship Middle School at Thuathe, and the newly handed over State House, will become telling examples of China-Lesotho friendship, and the Chinese government's unwavering support to Lesotho's social and economic development.


Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, in 7 months time, a new summit of FOCAC will be held in Beijing, China. This Summit will review the achievements that have been made since the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC three years ago, but also will map out the new policies and action plan for the coming three years. With a view to build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind which was put forward by H.E. President Xi Jiping, China will in the coming years do whatever in its capacity to increase its assistance to other developing countries, especially the least developed countries in Africa, in order to reduce the North-South development gap. The FOCAC is exactly such a platform to implement China's solemn pledge. It's my strong belief that with the joint efforts of China and Lesotho, we will further deepen our two countries' cooperation in various fields, with infrastructure as a key component, and bring more tangible and sustainable benefits to Lesotho and Basotho.


Last but least, I shall use this opportunity to express my heart-felt appreciation to all my Basotho colleagues and friends who have participated in our cooperation, especially the honorable ministers and colleagues in the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Development Planning. I sincerely hope that in the days to come, we will further enhance our cooperation and team work, to make sure the Ha Mpiti-Sehlathebe Road Project have a smooth implementation.


Thank you all. 


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