The independence of Botswana in 1966 was a decisive turning point in Southern Africa’s quest for total independence and Zimbabwe is heartened to note good economic progress the neighbouring country is making under majority rule.
These sentiments were expressed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador Frederick Shava when he spoke at the commemoration of the 57th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Botswana (Boipuso 2023).
“This day is significant not only to the people of Botswana, but also to Zimbabwe and the entire Southern African region as we all reflect on the monumental role that was played by the selfless people of Botswana towards the completion of the decolonisation project in the region,” said Minister Shava.
“Upon attainment of self-rule, on 30 September 1966, Botswana put itself forward and collaborated with other frontline states to exert pressure on Southern Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa to embrace majority rule.
“You were the beacon that shone the light for us, and, for that, we are forever grateful.
“Looking back into the past 57 years, we are impressed by the remarkable journey that has been traversed by our brothers and sisters in the quest for national development and improvement of the personal livelihoods of all Batswana people.
“The National Vision 2036 and numerous other flagship programmes that have been implemented by the Government of Botswana over the years, have done a sterling job in ensuring food security, enhancing industrialisation, promoting education and creating employment.
“A combination of wise leadership and a responsible and hardworking citizenry has helped to mould Botswana into the renowned success story that it is today.” Minister Shava noted the long-standing relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana which continue to grow from strength to strength that has been entrenched in frequent diplomatic contact and regular exchange of visits at the highest level by the respective leaders, President Mnangagwa and President Masisi.
Minister Shava said the bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and Botswana spans a wide spectrum of areas on which the Bi-National Commission (BNC) has become the main platform for coordination.
“On the economic front, our two economies maintain cooperative relations and there exists tremendous prospects for intensifying trade and reciprocal investment across a wide range of areas,” said Minister Shava.
“On that note, I am glad that both sides are doing their homework to make sure that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is optimally utilised in a way that allows our two business communities to exploit the full potential and economic opportunities that lie within our two countries.
“To that effect, the Government of Zimbabwe is not relenting in its adoption of trade and investment-promoting policies as instructed by His Excellency the President’s emphasis on the mantra that ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’.”
Botswana’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Sarah Molosiwa congratulated Zimbabwe on hosting peaceful general elections last month.
“The election hype is now over,” said Ambassador Molosiwa.
“All that is left is for me to take this opportunity to once more reiterate our heartfelt congratulations to Zimbabwe for putting together peaceful harmonised elections despite the insurmountable challenges besieging the country,” she said.
Ambassador Molosiwa also said her President, Dr Masisi, is determined to realise Botswana’s aspirations of Vision 2036, of which is the National Transformation Agenda – Reset Agenda that targets attainment of a high-income status and “prosperity for all by the year 2036”.
“Botswana and Zimbabwe boast of a strong historical and cultural legacy which existed long before the attainment of independence by both countries,” said Ambassador Molosiwa.
“Botswana has contributed to the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe and has even at the birth of Zimbabwe’s Second Republic in 2018, continued to partner with Zimbabwe in consolidating democracy and development.
“To this end, we have joined hands with our investment promotion bodies to ensure that the private sector, which is an important partner and a essential catalyst in the socio-economic development of any country work hand in glove with the government to propel Zimbabwe into a vibrant economic powerhouse just like her peers in the region.”