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Issues at hand as Botswana President visits

Thursday June 10 2021
Masisi pic

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi

By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. Economic diplomacy and security will be at the top of the agenda when President Samia Suluhu Hassan meets with her Botswana counterpart, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, in Dar es Salaam today.

President Masisi is due to arrive today, Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation minister Liberata Mulamula said yesterday.

Others issues that will feature in the talks at State House in Dar es Salaam are the use of Kiswahili in Botswana, and the strengthening of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Ms Mulamula said the insurgency in northern Mozambique was expected to feature prominently in the two leaders’ meeting.

“President Masisi, being the chairman of the Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security, will hopefully bring up the issue for discussion,” she said, responding to a question during a news conference.

Ms Mulamula said at least six rounds of meetings of Sadc heads of state have been convened in the country’s capital Maputo, to discuss defence and security development following attacks that have led to loss of lives, destruction of properties and displacement.

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“Several declarations have been made, but the most important being reorganization for sending a joint troop to the area,” she said adding.

“The international community has been told that fighting terrorism isn’t a responsibility of a few countries,” the minister said, suggesting that assistance should be channelled through Sadc.”

She said two presidents will discuss the direction, saying Sadc heads of state will convene another meeting on June 20, 2021 in Maputo to receive security reports from member state countries.

Regarding strengthening cooperation, Ms Mulamula said their talks will focus on the significance of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) established in 2009.

“The JPC meetings will enable Tanzania to trade agricultural commodities including soya, rice, sesame, sunflower, spices and ocean products to Botswana.”

According to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) import-export statistics between the two countries stood at Sh3.5 billion in 2020 as compared to Sh1.8 billion and Sh731 million in 2019 and 2016 respectively.

Ms Mulamula said the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) statistics show that 10 Botswana companies had invested in Tanzania in the sectors of agriculture, construction, financial services, production and social services as of March 2021.

“The value of the investments made is $231.01 million - which also created 2,128 jobs.”

Being famous in livestock husbandry, Tanzania will benefit from Botswana by learning better livestock keeping methods, Ms Mulamula said, adding that Tanzania still imports livestock vaccines, medicines and frozen beef.

“They will also deliberate on better ways of benefiting from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and how to get Covid-19 vaccine.”

She said Swahili - which was resolved to be promoted during the last summit of Sadc heads of state - will also feature in the discussions.

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