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Zim-Bots co-operation commendable

01 Mar 2019 at 14:07hrs | Views
The inaugural session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) Summit which ended yesterday in Harare presents both countries with mutual benefits that are set to improve the lives of citizens of the two Southern African neighbours.

The two nations signed six agreements and Memorandums of Understanding – the Extradition Treaty, MoU on Diplomatic Consultations, the MoU on Rules and Procedures Governing the meeting of the BNC, the MoU on Geology, Mining and Metallurgy, the MoU on Co-operation in the Energy Sector and the MoU on Co-operation in the field of Science and Technology.

Harare and Gaborone have shared strong ties since the liberation struggle as the latter served as a launch-pad of Zimbabwe's decisive phase of the protracted struggle in the beginning of the 1970s. Several liberation war fighters were recruited to Zambia via Botswana.
The two nations also enjoy a strong brotherhood as its citizens who live on the Zimbabwe-Botswana border in Plumtree areas share the same ancestry.  

It is against this background which saw the two nations ink agreements for broader co-operation in political, economic and social spheres.

The two countries are endowed with rich minerals, thus the MoU on geology, mining and metallurgy will enable the nations to share ideas on the best surveying and mining practices, mineral value addition and training of mining field professionals.

Zimbabwe boasts of top-notch mining education institutions such as the Zimbabwe School of Mines in Bulawayo and several universities that offer mining degrees. In turn, Botswana boasts of considerable experience and expertise in the diamond sector. Therefore, it can assist Zimbabwe in the gem processing as it boasts of the world renowned Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in Gaborone, which is a sophisticated diamond sorting and valuing hub which can see Zimbabwe shipping its diamonds to Botswana for processing, cleaning and polishing before the stones are put on the market to fetch higher prices.
The MoU on co-operation in the field of Science and Technology will significantly contribute to the rapid industrialization of both nations and also offer exciting opportunities for the youths in both nations. The young Tswanas can leverage on the Zimbabwe's best education system which is now embarking on the expansion of the science and technology field in the country's universities. This has seen the Government spending a whooping US$15 million on the establishment of innovation hubs at six (6) universities around the country.

The co-operation in the energy sector also presents both countries with opportunities to increase their power generation capacities to match growing demands as both countries embark on expanding their economies.

During 2019, Zimbabwe is set undertake two key electricity generation projects that include US$350 million Hwange Unit 7 and 8 Expansion project and the Batoka Hydro Electricity Scheme along the Zambezi river. Meanwhile, Botswana through its national power supplier, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is working on Morupule A and B power plants. According to one of the daily papers in that country, "the 132MW Morupule A has been under refurbishment since 2015 and had experienced delays due to implementation of modifications in order to achieve high performance of the plant and stability of power generation. Morupule B undergoing remediation works which commenced in 2017 and will complete in mid-2020."

Thus, the BNC offers the energy sector players involved in the above projects to share and compare notes.

The BNC also plays a pivotal role in improving the economies of the two nations as both countries will ensure a conducive environment for businesses on either side of the border to increase interaction. Botswana has already hit the ground running by unveiling a one (1) billion pula credit facility earmarked for the Zimbabwe's private sector.

This good gesture must be applauded as it offers Zimbabwean businesses with new lines of credit that have been stalled by the illegal sanctions imposed by the United States and her allies.
Going forward, as brothers and sisters in the SADC region, these close co-operations must be commendable as they bring unity and togetherness of members' states in the region.

Source - Letty Mabhena
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