Gaborone — Botswana and New Zealand continue to enjoy good bilateral relations, underpinned by common values of being committed to democracy and human rights, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
Speaking during a courtesy call by New Zealand High Commissioner, Mr Mike Burrell, who came to bid farewell to the President as his three-year tour of duty comes to a close, President Masisi said the two countries had strong ties at a political level, and that Botswana welcomed New Zealand companies and visitors.
Mr Burrell, who had been based in Pretoria, South Africa and had been the New Zealand envoy to Botswana and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said his country had much in common with Botswana.
"We are both small countries with shared values, both dependent on international systems and we have partnerships such as in the beef sector. Over the past three years, we have trained about 900 people involved in the beef sector, and we will now go into the second phase this next year, which will go beyond the southern part of Botswana, where this has largely been based, and also look into improving the supply chain and reach out to markets to make Botswana a leader in export-led beef sector," Mr Burrell said.
He also said that the two countries had been working together on how to improve the investment climate, which could in future lead to improved trade relations and investment.
"Botswana already has a good business environment, one of the best in Africa, and certainly the openness of the economy is something that is admirable. So this is really about building upon pre-existing success, and over the past 18 months, we have worked together on putting Botswana business registry online, which makes it easier for companies to register online," Mr Burrell said.
He further said that his country was interested in working more intimately with Botswana in other areas such as climate change.
"We are aware that methane gas emitted by animals causes damage to the environment and we want to work with Botswana and share experiences with a view to improve our farming technologies and also to adapt our farming practices to deal with the reality of climate change," he said.
With Botswana being what he considers to be an international standard quality tourist destination, Mr Burrell said he hoped to see better tourism from his country and also improved cooperation in the agricultural sector.
"Botswana's tourism offer is second to none, and getting more people from New Zealand to visit should be high on the priority list.
Our country also has expertise in the area of agriculture services and we would like to encourage more companies from New Zealand to come and work in the area, as we have already done in other African countries," he said.
Source : BOPA