Gaborone — China plans to extend a loan to Botswana for rail and road infrastructure as well as writing off some debt, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi says. Speaking at the airport on his return from last week’s China-Africa forum in Beijing, Masisi said Botswana had made a pitch to China and "I am happy to report that, judging from what President Xi Jinping told me, we were successful". In addition to the loan and a debt cancellation of P80m, China has also offered a P340m ($31m) grant, he said. "We got a little bit more than just the loan," he told reporters. He did not disclose the size of the loan, but last week the ministry of finance said Botswana was seeking a P12bn ($1.09bn) loan for transport infrastructure. Botswana is the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value. Chinese companies, mostly state owned, are largely into construction in Botswana such as dams and roads. The bulk of the loan is expected to fund the Mosetse-Kazungula railway line project, which will...

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