Fidelis Munyoro and Victor Maphosa
TWO senior Botswana government officials arrived yesterday ahead of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) meeting set for tomorrow.
The meeting will culminate in the signing of the agreements by Presidents Mnangagwa and Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Botswana’s International Affairs and Cooperation Minister Unity Dow and Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Minister Mr Eric Molale landed in Harare last night.
They were welcomed at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Busi Moyo, Botswana Ambassador to Zimbabwe Lieutenant-General Louis Fisher (Rtd) and other high-ranking Government officials.
Speaking to journalists, Minister Dow described relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana as not new.
She said they were coming to strengthening the existing relationship.
“So we are having a bi-national meeting like this. We are meeting at all levels, ministers, officials and head of states,” said Minister Dow.
Minister Dow said the BNC would provide the sister countries with a platform to share, exchange notes and concretise their relations in different facets of the economy.
“For us Zimbabwe is a very important partner and a very important neighbour. When we have a neighbour like this we must sit down and talk and find out if the relationship is still in force and what we can do to make it better. At the end of the day it is about people of the two republics,” she added.
Minister Dow said the two countries share a common border and the authorities have to constantly ask themselves whether “we are managing this border properly or not and again it is about the economy and our people”.
“Remember we have people from Zimbabwe living in Botswana and people from Botswana living in Zimbabwe. We have also common areas like in education, we have Memorandum of Understanding in certain areas so we need to sit down and talk always to strengthen the relationship.”
Minister Dow said that her delegation wants to make sure that when they leave for Botswana tomorrow both countries’ people would be satisfied with the outcomes of the BNC.
Minister Moyo said the relations between the two countries had reached another level.
“It is significant also in the sense that this is the first time we are having a bi-national commission which is discussing policy on political, economic and defence and security issues which are common issues between two brother and sister countries,” he said.
President Masisi is expected in the country tomorrow.
Botswana is extending $600 million to support the private sector in Zimbabwe.