Windhoek – Botswana and Namibia have agreed to work closely in the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, in the lobby for legalisation of controlled ivory trading, and in enhancing bilateral commerce.
The agreements were sealed by Presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana) and Hage Geingob (Namibia) after a meeting of the Namibia-Botswana Biannual Commission in Windhoek on January 29.
President Masisi was in Namibia on a one-day State Visit.
After their talks, the leaders released a communique saying, “With regard to defence and security co-operation, the two countries reiterated their excellent collaboration and noted the challenges experienced due to COVID-19 pandemic with regard to hosting their Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS).
“They further noted that the signing of the Bi-National Commission agreement would absorb the JPCDS. Botswana also informed that Botswana does not have a shoot-to-kill policy. The two countries committed to the resumption of joint coordinated patrols and activities, with priority to be given to the areas around the shared river and water ecosystem along the common border. “
They committed to a bilateral engagement on intelligence, defence and law enforcement; with a pledge to recommend to their trade and economic sectors to accommodate the strategic needs of the countries’ respective defence and security clusters.
On the new coronavirus pandemic they said: “Noting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, the two countries agreed to work closely and co-ordinate efforts particularly with regard to procurement and roll out of COVID-19 vaccines. The two countries agreed on a joint approach to vaccine procurement, delivery, regulatory approval, vaccination of citizens in either country as well as addressing community.”
Presidents Geingob and Masisi said sharing of best practices, collaboration on testing for COVID-19 and harmonisation of COVID-19 test result validity were also agreed to by the two countries.
The two presidents also dwelt on establishment of a joint technical committee as part of the memorandum of understanding on co-operation in the health sector.
“In terms of trade and investment, both sides exchanged views on their post-COVID-19 joint economic recoveries. The two countries agreed to leverage on the Trans-Kalahari Corridor to create value chains in agriculture, tourism and trade facilitation,” the communique added.
Presidents Geingob and Masisi also agreed to continue enhancing cross-border trade, while maximising commercial advantages offered by Walvis Bay and the dry port facilities Namibia has offered to SADC countries, Botswana included.
They said there was agreement on the need to fast-track establishment of a one-stop border post between the two countries.
“At the regional and continental level, the two Heads of State welcomed the operationalisation of the SACUM-UK agreement and the coming into force of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) on 1 January 2021. Namibia and Botswana also agreed to strengthen their positions by providing success stories on how the trade of ivory benefits the communities,” the two leaders said.