Botswana: Lefhoko Hails Bilateral Relations

Nairobi — Botswana High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr Duke Lefhoko, says bilateral relations between the two countries have been fruitful.

The relationship between Botswana and Kenya was established after Botswana attained independence in 1966 and was upgraded in 2001 when the duo started a Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) on a number of fields.

Mr Lefhoko said in an interview on Friday ahead of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi's three-day state visit to Kenya that the two nations had in the past cooperated on various fields, among them; agriculture, military and meteorology.

"Our first locomotive drivers were trained here when Botswana took over Botswana Railways and as such Kenya remains an important strategic partner to date," he said.

On the fifth session of Botswana/Kenya Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation, High Commissioner Lefhoko was happy that almost all of the contents of what will be discussed by the two heads of state during official talks on Tuesday had been generated.

He was hopeful that about five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) will be signed during the session and that there will be a review of the status of MoUs that have been in force since the last JPCC which was held in Gaborone.

Mr Lefhoko was also pleased with the ratification of the African Free Trade Agreement that came into force in May this year, saying it was going to open doors for more active trade in Africa.

He said Botswana stood to benefit handsomely as long as it kept its focus on Kenya as a strategic partner.

He stated that the thrust of Botswana's diplomacy with Kenya was primarily economic although he said that should not be interpreted erroneously to mean other indices of diplomacy were being neglected.

"We will continue with other aspects of our diplomacy such as people to people, cultural diplomacy and many others with Kenya, but greater emphasis will be placed on trade," he said.

During his State-of-the-Nation Address last year, President Masisi said his administration recognised investment promotion as key to economic growth and job creation.

"We have since embarked on a transformation agenda to lure investors to our country through a revamped investment promotion drive which I am leading. These missions are to ensure Botswana's visibility and position us as an investment destination. We are building the goodwill in the global village through Brand Botswana initiatives including investments booths, marketing our arts and culture, cuisine, song and dance," Dr Masisi relayed to the nation then.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had during his congratulatory message to President Masisi on his ascent to the highest office in the land in April 2018, expressed desire to have the latter make a reciprocal visit to the East African nation.

Also, he expressed confidence that the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation between the nations would go a long way in consolidating existing relationship between the two nations and help advance the socio-economic status of the people of the two.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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