CHINA and Lesotho have extended for another three years, their technical cooperation agreement which will enable the Asian country to maintain the Lesotho’s parliament building and the National Convention Centre in Maseru.
This was revealed by the Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Sun Xianghua, during a recent ceremony in Maseru to mark the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Dr Xianghua revealed in his keynote speech that China was a “time-tested friend” and partner of developing countries in Africa, adding it was committed to providing assistance to facilitate development in countries like Lesotho.
“As a time-tested friend and partner of developing countries in Africa, China will continue to make its contribution in mitigating and solving common (development) challenges of mankind,” Dr Xianghua said, adding, China-Lesotho cooperation which was conducted in terms of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) extended to various sectors ranging from infrastructure, food security, manufacturing, public health and medical assistance.
The sixth FOCAC summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 3-5 December 2015 and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged US$60 billion worth of investment in Africa including Lesotho.
“The Kingdom of Lesotho is a very important partner and friend of China. When we look at the China- Lesotho relations, we are so proud to see the distinct characters and endless concrete results of our cooperation.
“We have renewed our technical cooperation agreement with the Lesotho government and we will be providing another three years of technical support in the maintenance of the parliament building and National Convention Centre. An 11- member Chinese team will do the maintenance work and transfer the skills to Basotho.”
Dr Xianghua also revealed that Chinese-built State House of Lesotho was complete and would soon be handed over to the government of Lesotho.
For his part, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Habofanoe Lehana described China as Africa and Lesotho’s “devoted partner in development”.
“This friendship dates back as far as the 1500s when the first Chinese sailors led by Admiral Zheng visited the east coast of Africa following the famous Silk Route.
“It is therefore our hope that China will continue to walk the path with Africa for the realisation of the African Union Agenda 2063 which advocates for the total industrialisation of the African continent.
“Under bilateral cooperation and through the framework of FOCAC, the governments of China and Lesotho have identified our major projects to be implemented during the current cycle, namely: the construction of Maseru District hospital, the Mpiti – Sehlabathebe Road, the Mafeteng Solar Power Energy Project, and Construction of the Hlotse Multi -Purpose Dam in Leribe, which will supply irrigation and drinking water to nearby towns and also generate power for the country,” Mr Lehana said.