Zim, Botswana seek to strengthen economic ties

By Tichaona Kurewa

ZIMBABWE and Botswana have pledged to strengthen economic cooperation as the neighbouring countries seek to boost their trade and industry growth prospects.

The Ministerial Conference of the Third Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission in Victoria Falls this Thursday saw the two nations agreeing on the need to boost economic growth prospects.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Zimbabwe and Botswana have pledged to strengthen economic cooperation as the neighbouring countries seek to boost their trade and industry growth prospects.

The Ministerial Conference of the Third Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission in Victoria Falls this Thursday saw the two nations agreeing on the need to boost economic growth prospects.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava stressed the importance of economic cooperation in improving relations between the two countries.

“Economic cooperation should form an important pillar in our bilateral relations. I have noted that the level of bilateral trade was on a downward trend in 2020 and this is unacceptable considering that we are neighbours,” said Ambassador Shava.

“The level of our economic cooperation is similarly worrying. We need to redouble our efforts in this area by concluding negotiations on the enabling legal instruments and agenda items under consideration during this session of the BNC.”

Ambassador Shava also spoke on the outstanding agreements under the second session of the BNC.

“I have noted that it has taken long for us to come to a common understanding regarding the need to upgrade the Plumtree-Ramokgwebana Border Post into a One-Stop Border Post. We already enjoy the benefits of such a facility; with the one between Zimbabwe and Zambia at Chirundu, and between Botswana and Zambia at Kazungula. A One-Stop Border Post facilitates trade through reduced transit time for freight and passengers, and transport costs,” he said.

“There should not be any further delays in concluding instruments like the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement; the MoU on Cooperative Development and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; and the MoU on Economic, Trade and Investment Promotion, among others. These instruments when finalised have the potential to improve economic and trade relations between our two countries.”

According to Zimtrade, Zimbabwe’s total exports to Botswana were worth 19.2 million United States dollars in 2018. stressed the importance of economic cooperation in improving relations between the two countries.

“Economic cooperation should form an important pillar in our bilateral relations. I have noted that the level of bilateral trade was on a downward trend in 2020 and this is unacceptable considering that we are neighbours.

“The level of our economic cooperation is similarly worrying. We need to redouble our efforts in this area by concluding negotiations on the enabling legal instruments and agenda items under consideration during this session of the BNC,” said Ambassador Shava.

He also spoke on the outstanding agreements under the second session of the BNC.

“I have noted that it has taken long for us to come to a common understanding regarding the need to upgrade the Plumtree-Ramokgwebana Border Post into a One-Stop Border Post.

“We already enjoy the benefits of such a facility; with the one between Zimbabwe and Zambia at Chirundu, and between Botswana and Zambia at Kazungula. A One-Stop Border Post facilitates trade through reduced transit time for freight and passengers, and transport costs.

“There should not be any further delays in concluding instruments like the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement; the MoU on Cooperative Development and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; and the MoU on Economic, Trade and Investment Promotion, among others. These instruments when finalised have the potential to improve economic and trade relations between our two countries,” he said.

According to Zimtrade, Zimbabwe’s total exports to Botswana were worth US$19,2 million in 2018.