Windhoek — President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday said the planned relocation of De Beers Diamond Trading Company from London to Gaborone is a step in the right direction, since this will add more value in skills development and technology transfer to Southern Africa.
Pohamba said this yesterday at the beginning of the three-day state visit by the President of Botswana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, to Namibia.
"A number of diamond-polishing factories have been established in Namibia. We therefore look forward to working closely with the Republic of Botswana to expand and strengthen value addition to diamonds in our two countries," President Pohamba said.
The president heaped praise on the mutual cooperation between the two countries, especially in the areas of infrastructure development, telecommunications, aviation, tourism, trade and regional integration.
He stressed that this is vital to the development and economic integration of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
He added that the ongoing cooperation in the field of animal health has enabled Namibia to combat outbreaks of lung sickness and foot-and-mouth disease, adding that the country looks forward to further cooperation in combating veld fires that do not respect borders.
He commended Botswana for its involvement in important projects such as the Trans-Kalahari Railway Line, the West Africa Cable System and the Trans-Caprivi Highway.
"These projects hold immense potential to boost economic growth and industrialization, not only in our two countries, but also in the wider SADC region," he said. Pohamba also welcomed the commencement of direct flights by Air Namibia between Windhoek and Gaborone and said tourists from Botswana will no longer need to use the South African route to come to Namibia.
The president said Namibia would continue to work with Botswana to facilitate the repatriation of hundreds of Namibian refugees from the Dukwe refugee settlement.
On his part, Khama said as neighbouring states, it is vital to forge close interactions that will provide leadership that is required for development efforts and which will also serve to strengthen the longstanding relationship and fruitful cooperation between Botswana and Namibia.
Yesterday, Khama was scheduled to visit the Aimab Superfarm, the multi-million-dollar dairy farm at Mariental that produces fresh milk for the local market
Today he is expected to attend the inauguration of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and also pay a visit to Namport in Walvis Bay.
Tomorrow, Khama will visit the Namibia Diamond Trading Company and address the Namibian Parliament before his return on the same day to Botswana.