Gaborone — Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr Yukiya Amano, yesterday paid a courtesy call on Vice President, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi to discuss IAEA's work and identify potential areas on how to further enhance the agency's collaboration with Botswana.
Mr Masisi expressed gratitude for Dr Amano's visit and assured him that Botswana would remain free of threat, particularly with respect to the use of arms or technologies that fall under IAEA's remit and would support IAEA's work, as a country and through United Nations' system.
"We also want to offer our country for you to do more work here. So, never be afraid to pick up the phone, director general, and call the minister directly to make a plenary quest to have a meeting or project here. We will favourably consider it more likely, than not so," he said.
"We are privileged to receive persons of your status, particularly at this time in our period of development and this time given the current things that are going on around the world. We yearn for more, we are very open minded and we yearn for more guidance to enhance competence," he added.
As a democratic republic, vice president said Botswana felt obliged to engage and listen to the voice of the people, 'but that is enriched by the quality and the content of that which we engage them on.'
He also added that, as an arid country, Botswana was also faced with severe developmental challenge of water and 'we need to be very efficient and wise in our investment in water going forward, because without water we cannot grow or industrialise.'
He expressed hope that the team would be in a position to facilitate any area in which Botswana might need help in, either the communication strategy or the content of the communication.
For his part, Dr Amano, who came to Botswana yesterday and will leave Monday, commended Vice President for his support for the IAEA's work, saying it was important for political leaders to support engineers and researchers.
He said his organisation was active in transferring nuclear technology to help development, as IAEA promotes peaceful use of nuclear technology to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
Programmes of IAEA, he said, encouraged development of peaceful applications of nuclear technology, provide international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and promote radiation protection, nuclear security standards and their implementation. "Radiation is helpful both for diagnoses and treatment. By applying radiation artificially we can see inside a human body. If we apply it for cancer, we can see tumors and by applying it at a bigger dose we can kill the tumor," said Dr Amano.
University of Botswana, he said was starting to use Radio Nuclear Medicine and Radio Therapy and IAEA experts were working with the institution to commission and help in operations.
For his part, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele, said Botswana had been a member state of the IAEA since 2002.
Through this collaboration, Dr Madigele said Botswana had benefited a lot in areas of agriculture, human health, soil and water quality, food and also at Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital. Even before then, he said there were some projects that had been going on in the country, such as eradication of Tsetse-fly in Ngamiland, which also came about through assistance of the IAEA.
While in Botswana, IAEA director general will also tour on-going national projects being implemented under IAEA technical cooperation programme.
Source : BOPA