Gaborone — Botswana and the US have developed long-standing mutually beneficial cooperation by establishing partnerships in critical areas of human development such as trade and investment, health, education, defence and law enforcement.
"In this context, Botswana remains highly appreciative of the invaluable support rendered by the US government in many areas, including health. It is thus pleasing to note that the US President's Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief Assistance (PEPFAR) has been extended until the year 2023," Mr Molefhi revealed.
He was speaking on behalf of the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Unity Dow during the commemoration of the 243rd anniversary of US independence in Gaborone on July 10.
In the area of education and capacity building, Mr Molefhi said, government was grateful for assistance offered through initiatives such as the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Programme and the Fullbright Foreign Student Fellowship.
"We are excited to establish partnerships and cooperation programmes with various US institutions and renowned universities such as Rutgers, Stanford and Yale in pursuit of our priority objective of making Botswana a knowledge-based and competitive economy," he said.
Noting that Botswana had over the years enjoyed cordial relations with the US, Minister Molefhi said it continued to view America as a strategic partner for national development.
"Our two countries enjoy excellent relations anchored on shared and most revered values of democracy, development, rule of law and respect for human rights. In this regard, the US has been and remains a strategic partner in Botswana's development," Mr Molefhi said.
US ambassador to Botswana, Mr Craig Cloud said his country had come a long way from 1776 when 13 British colonies declared independence as the United States of America.
He noted the many contributions the US had made to the world, including inventions such as the airplane, telephone, telegram and light bulb.
Mr Cloud said the US' journey had been a difficult one as it included a civil war, economic depression, segregation and the battle for civil rights.
Nevertheless, the American nation always emerged from each challenge a stronger union, he said. With the embassy having chosen the 'Power of Sports' as the theme for this year's commemoration, Mr Cloud said the event, held a week after the actual US independence day which falls on July 4, highlighted the importance of sport in uniting people and inspiring each person to perform at their best.
Mr Cloud said the US had sponsored sporting initiatives in Botswana, including coaching clinics for the disabled involved in sport adding that Peace Corps volunteers also utilised sport initiatives in communities countrywide.
Source : BOPA