Chinese Ambassador to Botswana ZHENG Zhuqiang has come to the defence of his country’s economy saying it is not in turmoil, as some economists are suggesting.
Speaking at the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Gaborone on Wednesday Zhuqiang said his country’s economy registered a 7% growth in the first half of 2015, adding that it was not easy achieving it. “We are talking about a 10 trillion US$ economy, of which 7% growth actually generates more increase in volume than the double digit growth in the past,” reasoned Zhuqiang.
He said China's economy is now in a state of a New Normal because it is undergoing adjustment and transition. According to Zhuqiang it means lower growth rate compared to the past but higher and better quality of growth. The Chinese ambassador said under the New Normal, their economic structure is rapidly improving. One of the driving forces behind China’s economic growth, according to Zhuqiang, has been generated through innovation and deep reforms.
He dismissed suggestions that China is speedily losing its economic swagger, reasoning that China’s basic economic fundamentals are positive and the overall economic performance has been stable. “While the potential of people’s creativity is being released, this will guarantee an even brighter future of China’s economy,” said Chinese Ambassador. One of the bigger issues that China is facing is that they are going through massive transformation from being a cheap export nation to the one that is self-reliant on its middle class and innovation to drive growth.
Zhuqiang said China will adopt a more proactive import policy and place greater emphasis on the quality of imports and exports adding that it is estimated that Beijing will be the largest importer in the whole world by . On tourism, Zhuqiang said the number of outbound tourists has increased as in 2014 more than 100 million Chinese tourists travelled abroad and this year the number increased by 10%. He added that when Chinese tourists go abroad they don not only go for sightseeing but do shopping as well, thus dispelling the myth that Beijing is a source of risk for the world economy but rather a real source of strength for world economic growth.
The Chinese’s ambassador resonates with that of his President Xi Jinping who on his visit to the United States of America last week defended his country’s economic reforms saying that Beijing's intervention to halt the country's stock market slide over the past few months was necessary to "defuse systemic risks," noting that it was similar to actions taken in "some mature foreign markets." Though the Chinese economy is going through rough times, Zhuqiang said that they will not dampen their trade and investment commitments to Africa.
“We will never stop facilitating the industrialization drive in Africa, and will never cut our efforts to further strengthen China-Africa relations,” he said, further adding that to show commitment to the development of Africa, China and South Africa recently announced that Pretoria will host the Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg in December 2015.
On their diplomatic relations with Botswana, Zhuqiang said that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Gaborone. Some areas which Botswana benefitted is in the area of health in which China sent 11 ophthalmologists who conducted 576 free cataract operations and helped the patients to regain their sights in Scottish Livingstone Memorial Hospital, Molepolole. “During the campaign, the Chinese government also donated medical equipment, devices, drugs and consumables worth over U$870, 000,” said Zhuqiang.
This year, China has sent 14 medical teams of 46 doctors to Botswana to provide volunteering medical support. In education, according to Zhuqiang, the Chinese government has increased the number of Chinese Government scholarships offered to Botswana from 22 in 2014 to 48 in 2015. He said that his government is ready to donate two more schools one in Mmopane and another in Kazungula village.
As a way of helping Botswana to protect its wildlife, China will donate P16 million worth of goods to Botswana government, he said.