By Staff Reporter
Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama the President of the Republic of Botswana visited Namibia for his first ever state visit to strengthen bilateral relation between the two countries with his counter part Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
In his welcome remarks, Pohamba said the occasion provided a welcome platform for the two countries in exchanging views on issues of natural interests in the field of both bilateral cooperation and regional integration.
“A good relationship vital for our countries to engage in regular dialogue aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of policies that we pursue to develop our countries and improve the living condition of people” Pohamba said.
Pohamba said the state visit by Khama also provides another opportunity for such interactions both two delegation teams to review the progress made in different areas of bilateral co-operation between the two countries.
“The issues mostly related on co-operation in the sector of infrastructure development, telecommunication, aviation, tourism, trade and regional integration.
The development of physical infrastructure is vital to the development our countries and the economic integration of the SADC region” said Pohamba.
Pohamba then commended the active involvement of the republic of Botswana in the implementation of important projects such as the TransKalahari Railway Line (the west cable system) and the TransCaprivi Highway which are boosting economic growth and industrialization in the SADC region.
In the field of aviation, Pohamba welcomed the landmark commencement of the direct flight by Air Namibia between Windhoek and Gaborone, the service which he said it will indeed go a long way to promote trade and commerce between the two countries and bring their country citizen’s closer.
Pohamba added that “co-operation under way between the two countries in the field of animal health has enabled Namibia to combat the outbreak of lung sickness and foot-and-mouth disease.
“We look forward to expand co-operation in this sector including the combating of veld fires which destroys grazing areas.
Promotion of a sustainable tourism industry should also continue to be part of our common strategy to boost economic growth and address the challenges of unemployment and poverty” he said.
Pohamba advised, saying that in order for the two countries to have the desired impact on tourism, initiatives such as the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) should enable local communities located in closer proximity to the Conservation Area to benefit from the utilization of natural resources.
“We welcome the commitment of the partner states of the KAZA TFCA to assist in the operationalisation of this project and we also welcome the envisaged signing of a search and rescue agreement by partner states in the near future” said the head of state.
Pohamba pointed out that the current concern occupying the attention of his government is the impact of the global economic crisis on national economies as well the whole region saying in order to build adaptive capacity, the region should identify strategic economic sector that have the potential for faster growth and the resilience to help weather the storm.
He noted that envisaged relocation of De Beers Diamond Trading Company from London to Gaborone is a step in the right in the right direction which will bring more value addition activities, development of skills and transfer of technologies to Southern Africa.
“A number of diamond polishing factories have been established in Namibia and we therefore look forward to working closely with the republic of Botswana to expand and strengthen value addition to diamond in two countries” said Pohamba.
The Namibian president used the same platform to reiterate that his government will continue to work with the republic of Botswana to facilitate the repatriation of Namibian refugees from Dukwe Refugee Camp.
“We are grateful to the people and government of Botswana and to Gaborone Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for providing the needed care and facilities to these Namibian citizens.” Pohamba said.