16 April 2019

Botswana: Talks Fruitful - Masisi

Doha — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has hailed bilateral talks he held with his Qatar counterpart, Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

President Masisi, who arrived home on April 16, was speaking in an interview at Hamad international airport in Doha at the end of his two-day state visit.

He said the bilateral talks bolstered Botswana's sheer drive to bring out the best for the socio-economic development of its people.

The two leaders engaged each other on wide-ranging issues such as agriculture, trade, investment, mining, tourism and education with a view to further deepen and expand cooperation between the two countries.

President Masisi also expressed optimism that his government would explore ways in which to trade in organic and beef which Botswana was famous for.

"We had a consensus with the Emir of Qatar that Botswana beef is amongst the best in the world and it is just a question of the private sector of the partners finding each other," he said.

He relayed further that the determination by Qatar government to set up a hi-tech dairy farm and be self-sufficient in fresh milk and diary product in less that 15 months following blockade imposed against the Gulf country by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt inspired awe.

"Baladna diary farm is the biggest in this part of the region. In 15 months, Qatar has moved from next to zero capacity of milk production to produce in excess of hundred per cent and is already exporting 20 per cent of the product," he said.

Botswana, he said, stood to draw valuable lessons from such tenacious partners through bench marking on best practices and pertinent aspects of production such as value chain development, business models to come out of the shackles of poverty and unemployment.

"We may not have much money as the Qataris but grit and determination is there," said President Masisi.

Also, he said, the two nations signed four memorandum of understanding ranging from defence to foreign affairs and cooperation.

"The way we would expect to benefit is to lock into an agreement those things that we want to exchange information, experiences and services. Once that is done a framework within which we work will be established," he stated.

Dr Masisi's visit to Qatar was preceded by a meeting of senior officials as well as a business forum involving parastatals and private sector companies from Botswana and Qatar.

Source: BOPA

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