Geingob to address Botswana Parley

SHARE   |   Monday, 11 July 2016   |   By Staff Writer
President Hage Geingob President Hage Geingob

President Ian Khama, will starting today(Monday) host his Namibian counterpart Dr. Hage Geingob, on a two-day state visit to Botswana from 11 to 12 July 2016. A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday said the two Presidents will deliberate on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. The visit is expected to further strengthen the excellent relations that subsist between the two countries. Botswana and Namibia share long-standing historical, cultural and family ties that have stood the test of time. “They also enjoy close collaboration at the bilateral, regional international fora, underpinned by their commitment to democratic ideals. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990, the two countries have made great strides in deepening and expanding the scope of bilateral cooperation in areas such as agriculture, defence and security, shared water courses, transport and communications, tourism development, education, immigration, mining and energy issues, among many others. "The increased collaboration between the respective sectors of the two countries has been facilitated by high-level visits and the convening of bilateral mechanisms such as the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) and the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS)," reads the statement from foreign affairs.

Both Botswana and Namibia are members SADC, which has its headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana. Khama is the current Chairman of SADC. The SADC goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 Southern African states. As of 2008 there was no treaty covering the long border between Botswana and Namibia. The border remains as defined by a treaty signed on 1 July 1890 between Great Britain and Germany delimiting their respective spheres of influence in Africa. Disputes about the border led in the 1990s to considerable tension between the two governments. The tensions were recently rekindled after Botswana adopted a shoot to kill policy against poachers in the Chobe river front, which led to some Namibians suspected of poaching being killed. Although the leadership in both countries has played down the tension, there have been some outbursts from some on the Namibian side reported in the media. In 1994, Botswana, Namibia and Angola agreed to establish the Okavango River Basin Commission, with a view to establishing a treaty governing joint use of the water resources, but progress towards finalizing the treaty has been slow. In 2004, Botswana and Namibia were cosignatories along with other states of the Zambezi river basin of an agreement establishing the Zambezi Watercourse Commission to manage the riparian resources of the Zambezi, which feeds the heartbeat of Botswana's tourism industry -The Okavango Delta and Chobe River.

The Namibian Government's principal foreign policy concern is developing strengthened ties within the Southern African region. A dynamic member of the SADC, Namibia is a vocal advocate for greater regional integration. Botswana–Namibia relations are generally friendly, with the two neighbouring countries cooperating on economic development. While Botswana gained independence from Britain in September 1966, Namibia gained theirs from South Africa in 1990 following the Namibian War of Independence. Each of the two countries has high commission in the capital city of the other. While in Botswana, Dr Geingob is expected to address Botswana Parliament and also participate at the official opening of the Botswana-Namibia Business Seminar. Business Botswana President Lekwalo Mosienyane confirmed on Friday that they will participate in the state visit by hosting the business delegation from Namibia to explore opportunities for growing trade relations. Both countries are members of SACU, which remains the biggest revenue earner for the two countries. Dr Geingob will be accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Ministers of Mines and Energy and Agriculture, Water and Forest; and other Senior Government Officials.