Last week President Ian Khama made a historic two-day visit to the Republic of Angola at the invitation of President Eduardo dos Santos.
Khama was given the honour of addressing the Angolan Parliament, which had been specially convened for the occasion. The visit was the first by a Botswana President to Angola. Dos Santos visited Gaborone more than a decade ago to cement ties with Botswana.
We understand that the visit was very fruitful as the two leaders agreed to commence programmes on cooperation. It is surprising that the two countries do not have cooperation agreements in areas such as trade, agriculture and tourism. From the visit, the relevant authorities would be working around the clock to map the way forward to kick start the cooperation.
We hope Angola and Botswana would put systems and mechanisms in place to implement the programme on cooperation and transform this blossoming relationship. It is also our hope that this bilateral cooperation would benefit the two parties and their people. The benefit should also translate into futher economic growth of the two countries.
There are few similarities about these two Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. They both depend on diamond exports and tourism to bolster their economies. This is an opportunity for them to exchange ideas on how to improve trade in diamonds and tourism. It is worthwhile to note the critical role played by Angola in the diamond industry. Angola is also the current chair of the Kimberly Process.
Although the diamonds are playing a significant role in the economies of these SADC countries, we implore them to diversify their economies away from minerals. We are of the firm opinion that the future of Africa lies in the industrialisation of the economy. This they should look into for the healthy future of the peoples in the two countries.
We should also encourage visits not only from top government officials from both countries, but their respective citizens. The two governments should also make it easier for our peoples to start businesses in either of the countries. In conclusion ,we encourage Khama to visit more countries to cement bilateral ties with as many them as possible.