President E.D Mnangagwa and his Botswana counterpart Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi held a Bi-National Commision (BNC) at Meikles Hotel in Harare to further strengthen economic relation between the two countries.
Botswana pledged to assist Zimbabwe with a 1 billion Pula bail-out package ,up from 600 million which was previously promised to boost Zimbabwe’s economy.
During the question and answer segment at the BNC Summit Thursday February 28, President Masisi confirmed that Botswana had increased its bail out facility to Zimbabwe from 600 million pula to a billion.
President Masisi also handed over health assistance worth 2,1 million pula to the Government of Zimbabwe.
The facilities came as a tonic to a number of agreements that the two Southern African neighbours made during a series of meetings that were held from Monday February 25 to Thursday 28under the aegis of the inaugural BNC.
Zimbabwe and Botswana signed six Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) spanning across political, social and economic sectors that will bring the two countries closer.
The MoUs included the Extradition Treaty, Diplomatic Consultations, Rules and Procedures Governing the Meetings of the Bi-National Bi-National Commission, Mining, Geology and Metallurgy, Cooperation in the Energy Sector and Science and Technology.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo and his Botswana counterpart Dr Unity Dow signed the MoU on Diplomatic consultations.
The two ministers also signed the MoU on Rules and Procedure governing meetings of the Bi-National Commission.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira signed the MoU on cooperation in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation while Botswana was represented by Minister Dow.
The Extradition Treaty was signed by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema and Botswana Defence, Justice and Security Minister Shaw Kgathi.
Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo signed the MoU on Cooperation in Geology, Mining and Metallurgy on behalf of his counterpart Minister Winston Chitando, while Botswana was represented Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale.
The two ministers also signed another MoU on Cooperation in the field of Energy Development.
In his remarks at the closure of the highly successful summit, President Mnangagwa said that the inaugural BNC Summit should be the beginning of greater bilateral cooperation for the benefit of our people and future generations. History has shown us that where people and nations get used to working together, they grow to share the same vision and aspirations.
“I am confident that Zimbabwe and Botswana have set themselves along this path”, he said.
President Masisi who was also the co-chairman of the summit echoed the same sentiments. He stated that the meeting was the beginning of a strong and long journey. President Masisi also said more work still needs to be done especially to open our private sector and that business people and private citizens need to play a meaningful role to further strengthen bilateral relations.
He said the Extradition Treaty would go a long way in serving justice between the citizens of the two countries.
Reading out the communique issued after the summit, Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Minister Dr S.B Moyo said the two Presidents underscored the importance of the MoU on Geology, Mining and Metallurgy in enhancing cooperation in the mining sector especially in the diamond sector where Botswana had considerable experience and expertise.
“The two (Presidents) also noted the importance of the MoU on cooperation in the energy sector in the development and industrialisation efforts of the two countries,” said Minister Moyo.
“The two Presidents directed the senior officials to expedite the conclusion of the outstanding agreements and MoUs by the midterm review to be held in November 2019. They noted the need to increase volumes of trade and investment between their countries. In this regard, they directed that a business forum be convened on the margins of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair to bel held in Bulawayo in April 2019.”
Dr Moyo said the two Presidents welcomed decision by Botswana to consider joining the Kaza uni-visa system as this would assist in the promotion of tourism in the countries involved.
He said there was also a briefing between the two Heads of State and Government on the political situation in the two countries.
On the international front, Dr Moyo said: “The Presidents also welcomed the statement by Sadc calling for the unconditional lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and noted Botswana’s commitment to continue advocating for the removal of the sanctions.