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- The countries already have about 45 instruments of bilateral cooperation
To date, Zimbabwe and Botswana have about 45 instruments of bilateral cooperation, most of which are being optimally implemented.
This was revealed by Rafina Chikava, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe at Senior Official’s plenary session at the 4th session of the Botswana – Zimbabwe BI-National Commission held in Maun this week.
She indicated that since the last meeting of Senior Officials in December 2022, at the Mid Term Review (MTR) of the 3rd Session of the BNC in Zimbabwe, the momentum of the two countries’ bilateral exchanges has been impressive.
Chikava noted that, quite a number of sectors have advanced technical partnerships, which, on their own, demonstrate the vibrancy, depth and breadth of the two countries cooperation. “The sectors include sectors such as agriculture, wildlife management, health, land and social welfare, national housing, defence and security, among a plethora of others,” she revealed.
Chikava added that the 2022 Mid-Term Review also helped them to conclude negotiations on a number of important instruments in the fields of Trade and Investment Promotion; Cooperative Development and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Air transportation; Prisons and Correctional Services, as well as Gainful Employment of Spouses of Diplomatic and Consular Staff.
However, she said there is still need to acknowledge that there are other areas in which progress has not been as fast, or as extensive as they had anticipated. She expressed hope that the session will leap forward progress on some pending projects.
“I know this has been said many times before, in our previous sessions but permit me dear colleagues, to just reiterate the urgency of establishing a One Stop Border Post at the Plumtree/Ramokgwebana border post and the conclusion of the Ponta Techobanine Railway Line Project.”
She added,” You will agree with me, Co-Chair, that these projects have high level public interest as they are designed to achieve some important development and social objectives. Central to all of them is the noble idea of advancing border efficiency, ensuring free movement of people and trade facilitation. I am aware that all of these issues are work in progress, but I am glad that we have already taken some of the most significant steps forward to realise these objectives.”
The senior officials’ session accorded them, an opportunity to review progress towards implementation of agreed commitments emanating from the 3rd BNC, that was held in Victoria Falls in February 2022. The aim of the preparatory meeting was to also adopt recommendations for consideration by the two countries’ Ministers and finally the Presidents.
At it draws to an end, Chikava however appreciated that significant advances were made towards expanding the scope of the bilateral exchanges between the two countries in various fields of common interest.
She revealed that one of the most notable achievements of the meeting was undoubtedly, the clearance of a number of outstanding Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that she said will bring tangible benefits to both our countries.
“It is an added pleasure that our two Heads of State will witness the signing of these important instruments of bilateral cooperation during the Summit. Such milestones give expression to our collective commitment to support the shared aspirations of our visionary leaders.”
For his part, Clifford Maribe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Botswana) said there are abundant opportunities that remain untapped in Botswana-Zimbabwe economic diplomacy, particularly with regard to trade and investment opportunities. However, Maribe noted that a Business Forum that was held on Thursday organised and coordinated jointly by the Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC) and ZIMTrade is one of the positive developments, which stand to unlock the economic potential between our two countries.