Victoria Falls (New Ziana) – Toasting to continued friendship and cooperation between Harare and Gaborone, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi pledged deeper collaboration to deal with challenges affecting both countries and the Southern African region at large.
Speaking at a banquet held in honour of President Masisi who is in Victoria Falls for the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission, President Mnangagwa said emerging challenges such as terrorism and Covid-19 required concerted efforts.
“The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasing frequency of climate change-induced natural disasters as well as the growing threat of terrorism are a wake-up call on the urgent need for stronger and mutually beneficial cooperation among African countries and the world at large. No individual country can address these challenges alone,” he said.
“Hence, cooperation at both multilateral and bilateral levels gives impetus to our respective communities to face and address all challenges head-on, with greater resilience and collective capacities.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe valued the cordial and fruitful relations between the two neighbouring countries.
“As we scale up our relations, it remains important that the impact of our cooperation be felt at across all levels of our communities from the grassroots, right up to the national levels,” he said.
“Stronger relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana must ultimately serve as building blocks towards accelerating our integration in the SADC region and the Continent at large. The realisation of the SADC Vision 2050 and the goals of the African Union Agenda 2063 are only possible when we, the member countries, work together with unity of purpose, as we are doing now.”
In response, President Masisi said the situation in Northern Mozambique, for example, was a shared responsibility.
“Botswana is steadfast in its commitment and resolve to support the people of Mozambique. We have little ability, we are a poor country but whatever little we have to share with our brothers and sisters of Mozambique in the quest for peace we will do it. And the logic is very simple, if it is them today, tomorrow is us,” he said.
“I want to urge you as Zimbabweans that we (must) continue to solidify the bloc, we (must) mobilise other leaders and countries to be laser focused on this mission and target, it is not ambiguous, it is well defined let us find it, aim for it and kill it. The sooner we do that, the faster we can get out of the challenges of development.”
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa highlighted to his counterpart, the developmental path that Zimbabwe was on.
He said Zimbabwe was firmly on course towards economic recovery, growth and sustainable economic and social development.
This, he said, was being achieved through renewed focus on increased productivity in agriculture using climate mitigation mechanisms, among other initiatives.
“Our polices have had far-reaching impacts on smallholder and communal farmers in particular with regards to both increased production, productivity and also improved incomes at the grassroots levels,” he said.
“I note with satisfaction that our two countries are working closely towards increasing cooperation in agriculture development and food security, as one of the key pillars of national development.”
On infrastructure development, President Mnangagwa said road and dam construction, for example, was being undertaken utilising local resources.
President Mnangagwa also called on Botswana to continue collaborating with Zimbabwe on international fora, for example in calling for a reformed UN Security Council.
“Pertaining to our Continent, we remain committed to peace, stability, democracy constitutionalism and good governance, which are key tenets within both SADC and the African Union Agenda 2063. It is from the united pursuit of these goals that a strong and independent Africa should emerge.
“On the international arena, let us continue our cooperation in the promotion of multilateralism and the reform of the United Nations system, especially the UN Security Council, guided by the Ezulwini Consensus and elaborated in the Sirte Declaration,” he said.