Zim-Botswana sign seven cooperation instruments
Maun(2020)- Zimbabwe and Botswana on Friday inked six Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and one agreement at the end of their second Bi-National Commission (BNC) as the two countries step up cooperation to boost their respective economies.
Leaders of the two countries, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana and President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe presided over the BNC.
Zimbabwe and Botswana upgraded their relations from a Joint Commission to Bi-National Commission in 2018 in a move that has seen the Presidents of both nations meeting annually to digest important socio-political and economic matters.
Following days of negotiations which started at government official level then Ministerial level before being escalated to Heads of State level, the two countries signed an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and MoUs on health matters, provision of sustainable, affordable and functional low-cost housing, cooperation in the field of media, information and publicity and on sport development.
Harare and Gaborone also signed MoUs on employment and labour as well as on cooperation in technical, vocational education and training.
Speaking at the close of the session, President Mnangagwa said the BNC had provided an opportunity to take stock of the state of bilateral relations between the two countries.
“We have together identified challenges and new opportunities that we must work to address between now and the third Session of the BNC. I also wish to thank our Ministers and officials for the hard work they have put in preparing for our meeting,” he said.
“I am pleased to note that this session has witnessed the signing of MoUs and agreements which set the foundation for our broader cooperation in the identified areas. We must apply greater determination towards the full implementation of these agreements for the benefit of our two countries and peoples.”
President Mnangagwa added; “Let us introspect and ask ourselves whether we have exerted enough energy and shown adequate commitment to realise progress in our cooperation. It is unquestionable that at the Head of State level and between our two people, we are clear as to where we should take our cooperation.
“Officials at the technical level in our respective governments must equally demonstrate zeal, focus and sense of urgency through speedy implementation of agreed positions. It is important for us all to ensure that we continuously work to implement agreements and decisions throughout the year rather than wake up a few weeks before the convening of the next BNC to give an impression of seriousness.”
President Masisi said the signing of the bilateral instruments would broaden the scope of cooperation between the two countries.
“Just a year ago, we launched the Bi-National Commission between our two countries in Harare. The fact that we are already meeting here today for its second session is a true demonstration of our commitment to further strengthen our bilateral relations,” he said.
“It clearly shows how determined we are to further consolidate progress on the commitments we have made in an effort to improve the socio-economic livelihoods of our peoples. It is also encouraging to note that our regular interaction with Zimbabwe through the BNC has not only provided us with the opportunity to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between our two countries but also to exchange views on other issues of mutual interest and concern at the regional continental and global levels.”
Besides Botswana, Zimbabwe has a Bi-National Commission agreement with South Africa signed in 2016.