Botswana: Draft Accord Gets Nod

Nairobi — Botswana is happy with the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) draft accord which will replace the Cotonou Agreement ending next February, says Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Ms Peggy Serame.

Speaking in an interview ahead of the December 9-10 ACP summit ending in Kenya today, she said Botswana had no misgivings whatsoever with the draft agreement and was ready to leverage on it to further improve the livelihoods of its people.

The 2000 Cotonou Agreement is dubbed the most comprehensive partnership convention between developing countries and the European Union (EU) aimed at poverty reduction and integration of ACP countries into the world economy.

Minister Serame said the Cotonou Agreement helped greatly by giving goods from ACP member states access into the lucrative EU market for years.

The successor agreement is expected to cover priority areas such as democracy and human rights, climate change, poverty eradication, peace and security, economic growth and investment and many others.

Ms Serame said similarly, the economic partnership agreements between EU and SADC, signed in Kasane in 2016, guaranteed Botswana and other SADC member states enjoyed 100 per cent free access to the EU market.

Minister Serame, who participated in other fora preceding the two-day summit held under the theme; "A transformed ACP committed to multilateralism", said there was need for the formulation of a collaboration framework for sharing expertise in various sectors of the economy.

During a Saturday panel discussion centering on among others Botswana's success story in the diamond industry, particularly how the country ensured that proceeds accrued from diamonds trickled down to the people, Ms Serame said it was attributable to the establishment of people-centered legal frameworks.

Botswana, she said, was therefore able to escape the mineral curse that had stifled the development path of many African nations.

Other panelists agreed that Botswana's success story, where sorting, cutting, polishing and marketing of diamonds was all done in Botswana, was due to deliberate efforts by the leadership to ensure Batswana benefitted from the country's mineral wealth.

According to National Development Plan 11 (2017-2023), Botswana remains committed to working closely with other countries, international organisations in order to advance peace and stability, prosperity, democracy, human rights and good governance.

"To this end, the country is an active member of various international organisations such as United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AFDB), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), ACP, AU and regional bodies such as Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC)," says the document in part.

In his State-of-the-Nation Address recently, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said Botswana continued to nurture friendly relations with other countries and forge strategic partnerships with the international community for its benefit and greater good of humanity.

Source : BOPA

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