UN re-affirms commitment to Botswana

Staff Writer
The United Nations is fully committed to assisting Botswana in her efforts to achieve economic development and poverty reduction.

This affirmation was made by the United Nations Resident Coordinator Khin-Sandi Lwin when she paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Trade and Industry, Neo Moroka last week.

The purpose of the meeting was to reassure the Botswana government that the United Nations is devoted to helping Botswana in her endeavour to develop Batswana and further grow the economy.

Khin-Sandi Lwin, who is also the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, added that the UN is aware of the challenges that Botswana is currently experiencing.

She said through its seven agencies based in Botswana, the United Nations is working closely with the government to develop NDP 10, adding that key areas of collaboration between the two parties include economic diversification, poverty reduction, the environment, human rights, gender equality and HIV/Aids.

In a statement from the ministry Moroka said the government of Botswana appreciates the technical support of the UN and that Botswana has worked with United Nations experts when formulating position papers to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Moroka said sustaining and further growing the economy is a daunting challenge facing the government. He called on the UN and its agencies to reassess its assistance programmes

to Botswana and ensure that the country's middle-income status does not disadvantage it because it is still vulnerable.

"So far the flow of Official Development Aid (ODA) to Botswana has dwindled, yet there are visible signs that Botswana still has economic challenges to grapple with," Moroka said.

"Some of the challenges contributing to the slow economic diversification pace are Botswana's geographical position. Because Botswana is a landlocked country, the cost of doing business is high and the transition from agrarian to a modern economy also poses a big challenge for the country."

He added that the dynamics of the current state of the economy are diverse and complex and that Botswana still needs technical expertise in trade negotiations to keep up with the pace of the ever demanding trade liberalisation and regional integration drive as a result.

"Support should focus on capacity building, while trade negotiation is a priority area for Botswana because (the country) currently leads the discussions on the SADC-EPA negotiations with the EU," Moroka explained.

"Expertise is also needed in the implementation of the SACU Agreement, especially on policy harmonisation among member states - Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa."



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