At the outset, let me take this opportunity your Excellency, to extend to
you, and through you, to the Government and people of the United States, our
sincere condolences following the senseless massacre of innocent worshipers in
Charleston, South Carolina last Thursday. The Government of the Republic of
Botswana applauds the United States Government for its swift action in
apprehending the suspect of this heinous crime, which is not only a tragedy for
the people of South Carolina but for all of us as human beings.
Your Excellency, today we celebrate and rejoice in the achievements that
the United States has so far realized, in its nation-building efforts in the
past two hundred and thirty nine years. I am truly honoured therefore, to join
you in these celebrations, particularly that I am the first Guest Speaker at the
first National Day that you have hosted Your Excellency, since you assumed your
duties as Ambassador of the United States to Botswana.
On this auspicious occasion, I wish to take this opportunity to extend my
sincere congratulations, and that of my Government and people, to the government
and the people of the United States of America, and to you in particular, Your
Excellency, as you celebrate this very important milestone.
Allow me Your Excellency, to reflect briefly on some of the highlights of
our co-operation. Throughout the years, the United States has remained a true
friend of our country; a friend we have counted on even during those days when
the future seemed so bleak due to national challenges such as the HIV/AIDS
pandemic. Thanks to the United States assistance through prorammes such as the
Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), our country has registered
major successes in the fight against the HIV/AIDS scourge, which today remains
one of the biggest challenges that our country has faced in its entire history.
In this regard, we acknowledge your unwavering commitment, Your Excellency, to
work with us, as clearly demonstrated by your bold decision to undertake a
public HIV test immediately after assumption of your Ambassadorial post in our
country. Many have since followed on your footsteps to test for HIV.
Your Excellency, we also acknowledge with profound appreciation, other
forms of development and technical assistance that the United States has
extended to our country over the years in various areas including education,
health, law enforcement, environmental conservation, trade and investment. We
further acknowledge with gratitude, the generous gesture of the United States
government in the development of our youth through President Obama's flagship
programme, Young African Leaders Initiative, (YALI) which has so far enrolled 15
of our young people, with an additional 13 earmarked to enroll later this
Your Excellency, Botswana remains committed to working closely with the
United States and indeed the international community, to combat transnational
crimes such as terrorism, human trafficking, illegal wildlife trade, cyber
crime, illegal fire arms trafficking, among others. Our collective efforts
through the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) is testimony of our
shared commitment to rid our world of transnational criminal activities.
It is also encouraging to note that our two countries have in principle
agreed to expand the scope of the State Partnership Cooperation Agreement
initially signed between Botswana and the State of North Carolina in 2008, to
include other sectors such as agriculture, disaster management, culture, sport,
trade, public safety correctional services, capacity building in all areas
including academia and research.
Before I conclude my remarks, let me take this opportunity to thank the
leadership of the United States for having shown their commitment to Africa's
development, as demonstrated by enacting legislation which extends the Africa
Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), for another ten (10) years to 2025. AGOA's
extension will no doubt help diversify Africa's export base, boost economic
growth and lay the foundation for sustainable development, that our continent
needs to survive and benefit from globalization.
Finally, we note with satisfaction the latest developments with respect
to the United States-Cuba relations. We applaud the leadership in both countries
for the current efforts to normalise relations between the two neighbouring
nations. We view these efforts in the overall context of promoting good
neighbourliness, peace, security and prosperity among nations.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,on this note, May I now ask you to
join me in drinking a toast: To the continued personal good health of His
Excellency Mr. Barak Obama, President of the United States of America; To
the continued friendship and cooperation between Botswana and the United States;
and To international peace and security. PULA!!!!
*Remarks by Nonofo Molefhi, then Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on the occassion of the 239the Independence of the United States of America.