Boost for Bots, Nam bilateral ties

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Windhoek – Following commitments by Presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana and Hage Geingob of Namibia to upscale bilateral economic ties, senior officials from the two nations have started working on the nuts and bolts of enhancing co-operation.

The Permanent Joint Commission of the two nations met this week for the sixth time, with engagements being held virtually as a new coronavirus control precaution. 

Presidents Masisi and Geingob held bilateral talks recently, and set the stage for this week’s Permanent Joint Commission.

At the official opening of the Permanent Joint Commission, Namibia’s Executive Director in the Ministry of International Relations and Co-operation Penda Naanda described the relationship between the countries as that of friends and brothers.

“This session is taking place at a time of unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 global pandemic. As such, it has become incumbent upon us to adapt to the new normal, as we advance our cooperation. Therefore, we are grateful and appreciate that you kindly accepted our invitation to this 6th Session, which we are holding for the first time virtually. 

“While the last Session took place in 2011, it does not mean that our bilateral co-operation stagnated. In fact, our co-operation has continued to grow from strength to strength. This is evidenced by the multitude of joint programs and projects agreed,” Naanda said.

 Botswana’s Secretary for International Affairs and Co-operation Gaeimelwe Goitsemang said since their last session in 2011, progress had been seen in co-operation in energy, health, security and transport.

“While acknowledging the modest progress in some areas, we need to redouble our efforts as there is still an array of pending agreements and MoUs, which have to be concluded. It is, therefore, my fervent hope that this Meeting will agree on ways to expedite the conclusion of all the pending bilateral instruments,” he said.

“In this regard, it is important that the respective sectors, under the various committees, should come up with clear timelines on the implementation of our commitments. They should also indicate which Party should initiate action to ensure effective implementation.”

The two countries pledged to improve on the smooth movement of people and goods between their borders, and to co-operate in the tourism and wildlife sector, particularly within the context of transfrontier parks.

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