7 February 2018

Namibia Hails Khama Visit

Windhoek — Namibia's international relations Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi on behalf of government has hailed the just ended two-day State visit by Botswana President, Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama Ian Khama as a success.

"We are very happy as it was a successful visit. As you know the purpose was really for him to come and say goodbye but it turned out to be a substantive State visit where the heads of state had official talks. There are specific outcomes that came out of those talks," she said.

One outcome she mentioned is the joint commission of cooperation with Botswana, which is the framework to deliberate on bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Further, she hailed that such deliberations have positive developments since the two countries attached importance to bilateral cooperation.

Ashipala-Musavyi noted the presidents also went into detail in terms of specific activities where both countries already have bilateral cooperation in crucial areas of education, trade, tourism, agriculture, energy and environment.

Furthermore, she explained the importance of the Trans-Kalahari railway line.

"If we don't tackle connectivity in Africa then we can honestly not effect integration because people have to move their goods and there has to be connectivity for that to take place."

The governments of Botswana and Namibia have expanded the scope of the Trans-Kalahari Railway Line project from being a

dedicated coal export route to a multisectoral project designed to unlock the potential of other economic sectors along the corridor.

The project was planned in 2010 as a 1,500 km railway line for the transportation of European-bound coal exports from the Mmamabula Colliery, in Botswana, to the port of Walvis Bay.

However, the project had to be remodelled in 2015 as coal prices slumped and ruined the viability of the single-commodity railway corridor business model.

During his visit, Khama and President Hage Geingob signed the boundary treaty between Namibia and Botswana.

The signed treaty will govern jointly the use of the shared water resources between the two countries along the three rivers namely; Kwando, Linyanti and Chobe.

Both Namibia and Botswana are semi-arid countries that face a devastating water crisis which threatens the livelihood of their citizens.

During the visit, Khama reaffirmed that the initial plan to jointly set up a multi-billion-dollar water pipeline that will draw water from the Atlantic Ocean and is shared by the two countries, is still on the cards.

Moreover, Ashipala-Musavyi said government wishes Khama all the best in his future endeavours as he steps down.

She is hopeful that Khama will still be active in other SADC related matters.


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