Chinese reluctant to invest in Botswana out of fear of deportation or having their residence permits not renewed without explanation.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday evening Chinese ambassador Zheng Zhuqiang charged that the Botswana law on deportation is unfriendly, as the targeted individuals are kicked out of the country without any explanation. He said the deported are not given time to collect their belongings or make arrangements for the welfare of their families.
“Chinese businessmen and citizens do not feel secure here. It starts with VISA and permits issues. It is very difficult for them to get a VISA here, and then even after they have been working here for more than 10 or 15 years, and even after having purchased property, they can be asked to leave the country anytime. In the past two years some people have been ordered to leave this country so suddenly, for example a senior manager of a company was ordered to leave in three days,” said the Embassy’s political counsel Lee Nan.
Some of these business people are very smart, they know what to do, he said, and they have ambitions to invest in the country. “They want to invest money here, they want to have a good life here, they want to help the people here, but if they feel threatened and insecure they will look for other options,” he said.
He added that the embassy regularly invites the Chinese to invest in Botswana.
With Morupule B Power station on everybody’s lips, including the recent travel to China by minister of foreign affairs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, to discuss among other things the project, the Embassy acknowledged that it was disturbed by the failure of the project.
“During the meetings, the two sides also discussed some existing project problems between the two countries, such as Morupule B power plant project.
The two sides agreed that some problematic projects like Morupule B power plant are an individual phenomenon, which cannot represent all Chinese companies and should not hinder the overall relations between the two countries,” said Ambassador Zhuqiang.
The Chinese diplomats stated that, “China fully understands the importance of Morupule B power plant project to people’s livelihood and economic development of Botswana and feels very distressed that the project constructed by a Chinese company cannot be fully operational till today”.
He said that relevant authorities of the Chinese government have interviewed the accountable officials of the company several times demanding that they come up with a feasible rehabilitation plan, and cooperate with Botswana government to fix the failures as soon as possible.
“The two sides shall work closely to solve this problem as soon as possible,” the Ambassador said, without giving a timeframe. His statement contradicts one given by minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs, Kitso Mokaila who in June said the current load shedding would continue until 2019.
Ambassador Zhuqiang said that the Chinese government is committed to helping Botswana improve its healthcare system and explore possible cooperation in pharmaceutical production.
“China will continue to provide medical and health assistance such as ‘China medical Team’ and ‘Brightness Action Campaign’ which is helping patients to regain their sight at Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole,” he said.