The Republics of South Africa and Botswana are currently engaged in talks aimed at strengthening and deepening the historical and existing bilateral relations between them.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr. Naledi Pandor, and her Botswana counterpart, Minister Lemogang Kwape, on Thursday co-chaired the Ministerial Session of the 5th Session of the Binational Commission (BNC) between the two nations.
Since the establishment of the BNC, the two countries have strengthened their bilateral cooperation in various sectoral areas, resulting in the signing of 38 agreements and memorandums of understanding.
Ministers will take stock with a view to consolidating the work accomplished so far and resolving any problems that may have hindered the effective implementation of certain commitments.
In her opening remarks earlier on Thursday, Ms Pandor said South Africa had a strong and reliable cooperative partner in Botswana.
The Minister said that in addition to common history and geographical proximity, the two countries share the same aspirations to develop their economies to create jobs and eradicate poverty and inequality.
“Through our bilateral cooperation, we are well placed to rebuild our national economies and contribute to the economic recovery of our region and the continent. South Africa is therefore more determined to continue to intensify its efforts to ensure socio-economic development. economy, the common prosperity and the mutual benefit of our people.”
Pandor said the two countries also share similar views on the security and economic development of the region and the continent.
“In the same vein, we aspire to a just and secure world. Our contribution to regional, continental and international organizations reflects these imperatives.”
The Minister underlined that mutually beneficial economic ties and investment flows must develop between the two countries, as these are the foundations of regional integration. She said their interactions and consultations under the BNC should enhance accountability in the implementation of the countries’ bilateral agreements.
Mr. Kwape said it was pleasing to note that despite many daunting challenges, the two countries continue to enjoy excellent bilateral relations, based on a solid historical past, a common culture and close family ties. .
“Our strong relationship has not only withstood the test of time, but also the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as our commitment to our friendship and bilateral cooperation remains unwavering. Our meeting here today indeed testifies to our friendship and our strong commitment to work closely together in our efforts to advance and expand our bilateral cooperation program,” he said.
Additionally, Botswana has been deeply affected by the recent deadly floods that hit KwaZulu-Natal.
“On behalf of the government and people of Botswana, we share the loss and grief of the incalculable damage to infrastructure and property suffered by the people of KZN. We also extend our condolences and sympathy to the families of those who perished. We are however confident that, as before, the resilient people of this province will recover, rebuild their lives and rebuild their economy,” Kwape said.
The two ministers commended the work of senior officials over the past two days as they continue to address issues defining the countries’ bilateral cooperation.
The outcome of the ministerial meeting will be presented to Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi.
President Ramaphosa is due to welcome his Botswana counterpart, President Masisi, for the 5th session of the BNC on Friday.
Prior to the establishment of the BNC in 2010, structured bilateral cooperation between South Africa and Botswana was conducted through the Permanent Joint Commission on Defense and Security, signed on 30 June 2000, and the Permanent Joint Commission on Cooperation (JPCC), which was signed on March 12, 2003.
The BNC agreement has since transformed the JPCC into a full-fledged BNC, making Botswana one of the few countries with which South Africa has a structured framework for bilateral cooperation at the level of Heads of State and/or government.
The BNC includes a Political and Diplomatic Committee; Defense and Security Committee; Economic Committee and Social Committee, which promote cooperation in these areas.
The 5th session of the BNC will assess the progress of all outstanding projects and the implementation of the commitments of the fourth BNC. It will further reaffirm bilateral relations and strengthen cooperation within the framework of the BNC.
The BNC also provides a platform to exchange views on international issues of common concern.