SA, Botswana step up relations

31 August 2012

South African President Jacob Zuma and Botswana President Ian Khama have signed an agreement establishing a bi-national commission, which will be convened annually.

The signing of the agreement was one of the highlights of Zuma’s two-day state visit to South Africa’s neighbour, following Khama’s state visit to SA in October 2010.

The commission will meet annually, alternating between Gaborone and Pretoria, and be chaired by both presidents.

Zuma and Khama also signed cooperation agreements on energy and coal-based energy projects, and discussed the development of the Mmamabula coal-fired power station and the need to expedite cross-border transport and infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges.

They urged their ministers responsible for defence, justice and security to intensify efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking and poaching of endangered species such as elephants and rhinos.

The two leaders also discussed the political and security situation in Zimbabwe, while urging the Zimbabwe’s political parties to set and adhere to the timelines for the adoption of the new Constitution, and the holding of a referendum and elections.

Botswana-South Africa business seminar

During his visit, Zuma addressed the Botswana-South Africa business seminar, which sought to encourage business linkages between the two countries.

Over 100 business people representing South Africa’s agri-processing, mining, construction, energy, ICT/telecoms, infrastructure and financial services sectors met with their Batswana counterparts at the Gaborone International Conference Centre.

The delegates were led by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, together with other government departments and Brand South Africa.

“We are looking forward to visiting Botswana with a large delegation of business people who are keen to identify and pursue trade and investment opportunities that exist between the various sectors in our two countries,” Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said ahead of Wednesday’s seminar.

Strong economic ties already exist between the two countries, and South Africa remains Botswana’s major trading partner.

South African companies have a huge presence in Botswana and are involved in various sectors, including mining, housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking and medical services.

SANews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfo