LILONGWE, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government on Monday handed over the much-awaited 101 km road joining the two border districts of Chitipa and Karonga, which has been constructed with funds from China.
Handing over the tarmac road to the Malawian government, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Pan Hejun described the event as another milestone underscoring the strength of bilateral ties since 2007.
Pan assured President Joyce Banda of the Chinese government's support to Malawi, saying the two countries shall remain true friends forever.
"China will continue to help Malawi in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education and health," said Pan. "The Chinese people and the Malawi people will forever remain good friends and good partners," the envoy added.
The diplomat said there are 17 experts from China in Malawi working closely with farmers across the southern African country and 16 medical experts serving the local people at Kamuzu Central Hospital and Mzuzu Central hospital.
President Banda thanked the Chinese government for the assistance it renders to Malawi, saying the construction of the Karonga-Chitipa road would boost the sectors of agriculture, tourism and mining -- three of the five priority areas of the president's Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
The president said the Chinese infrastructural development and technical assistance in the other sectors justifies the decision the Malawian government made in 2006 to establish diplomatic ties with China.
"I'm very excited to be the one to commission the Karonga- Chitipa Road today because I was personally involved in the establishment of the China-Malawi bilateral relations in 2006 when I was Foreign Affairs Minister," said President Banda.
Before, commuters used to take over four hours to cover the ragged 101 km stretch, a great part of which goes through mountainous areas lying between the two districts.
But with the completion of the road, it now takes about an hour to cover the same distance according to residents of the two border districts.
The Chinese government commenced the construction of the Karonga-Chitipa Road alongside the construction of the magnificent Parliament Building in the capital, which was handed over to the Malawian government in May 2010.
The two projects were estimated to cost more than 90 million U. S. dollars according to information sourced from the Chinese Embassy at the commencement of the projects.
Other on-going China-funded projects in Malawi include the state-of-art Malawi University for Science and Technology, a fully equipped stadium of international standard in the capital and Agricultural Technological Center in Salima district.
China is also set to drill 600 boreholes across the country and will also construct a modern primary school in the capital.
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