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President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, will on Monday 5th return to Maun for the fourth session of Botswana-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC) as the two countries continue to cement their fraternal relations.
In 2018, Botswana and Zimbabwe signed an agreement to establish the Bi-National Commission to promote and explore cooperation in a variety of areas. The agreement signed at the first commission included among others, geology, mining and metallurgy; energy; science and technology; and diplomatic consultations.
Before the BNC, the two countries already shared neighbourly relations that predate their diplomatic relations established in 1983. Botswana and Zimbabwe continue to cooperate in a number of areas including trade, energy, transport, agriculture, defence and security, education as well as health.
During the 2nd session that was held in Maun in 2020, the countries signed six memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and one agreement. The MoUs were on areas of health matters, sports development, media, information and publicity, labor and employment, provision of sustainable, affordable and functional low-cost housing, cooperation in technical and vocational education as well as training and agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
By then, the signing of the MoUs between the two countries brought the number of all signed MoUs to 17.
Part of the agenda of the 3rd session which took place in 2022 at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe was also to review progress on the implementation of cooperation commitments made at the second session held in 2020.
The BNCs which are convened at the heads of state level is a prominent bilateral mechanism that provides the two countries a platform to engage extensively on issues of mutual interest. The heads of state meeting are thereafter preceded by senior officials as well as a ministerial session. The countries also hold a joint business forum on the sidelines of the BNC meetings.
Previously, Masisi and Mnangagwa have respectively buttressed the importance of all the signed bilateral agreements in broadening and deepening the scope of cooperation between the two countries.
The presidents stressed that the sessions must have an impact on the countries’ socio-economic development, noting that could only happen if all do their part in the full implementation of their commitments.