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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 17 of 2011

Botswana-Mauritius Share Common Values and Interests

Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency.

This morning His Excellency the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, will be awarding medals to deserving members of the Botswana Police Service, while tomorrow he will attend the annual Police Day celebrations at Molepolole Stadium.

The highlight of the past week was the President’s hosting of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, the Rt. Honourable Dr. Navichandra Ramgoolam, who arrived on Monday for a two day Official Visit.

The visit was an opportunity for the two countries to deepen their bilateral relations, while reaffirming their common values and interests. Botswana and Mauritius are often paired as Africa’s two oldest multi-party democracies, which since independence have in each case also enjoyed high economic growth and social development.

On Monday evening, the President hosted the visiting Prime Minister for a State Dinner, during which he expressed his gratitude that last year’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mauritius Cardiac Centre has resulted in the performance of cardiac surgeries at Princess Marina Hospital.  He further observed that the agreement has reduced the local cost of cardiac surgery, while also providing for the transfer of medical skills to Batswana by Mauritian specialists.

His Excellency also hoped that the two countries broaden their collaboration in such fields as tourism and Air and Financial Services.

In response, Prime Minister Ramgoolam voiced his admiration for Botswana’s international reputation for the prudent management of public resources. Observing that his visit coincided with the arrival of a sizable Mauritian business delegation, he also expressed optimism that the two countries could forge win-win economic partnerships, adding that: “We also look forward to opportunities that will come forth in the Botswana Innovation Hub project.”

On Tuesday morning the two leaders held official talks at the Office of the President, following a private bilateral meeting.

At the talks the President was joined by H.H. the Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Health, Transport and Communications and Trade and Industry, as well as the Permanent Secretary to the President; while the Mauritian Prime Minister was joined by his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, and other senior officials.

In welcoming remarks, His Excellency thanked the Prime Minister for the reception he and his delegation had received during the President’s 2009 State Visit to Mauritius. He further welcomed the fact that the visiting Mauritian business delegation would be meeting with members of the local business community, in order to explore mutually beneficial partnerships.

The President also noted that already a number of Mauritian companies had been set up in Botswana, with six manufacturing companies having collectively invested over 100 million into our economy.

For his part, the Prime Minister expressed his own strong desire to build upon the existing and mutually beneficial partnerships in such areas as ICT, textiles and tourism.

With respect to the latter, some tourism stakeholders are reportedly exploring ways to expand “Beach and Bush” packages that would allow international visitors to sample Botswana’s wilderness and wildlife, as well as the surf and sand of Mauritius.

Following the talks the two leaders departed for Molepolole, where the Prime Minister was the Guest of Honour at the official opening of the Molepolole Institute of Health Sciences. At the event, he commended Government for its delivery of enhanced health services to Batswana, noting that health and education were pillars upon which human resource empowerment for economic development and poverty reduction were achieved. He further praised Botswana for its socio-economic progress since independence, observing that:

“Prosperity and progress do not occur by themselves. They demand leadership, vision, dogged determination and hard work.”

The Mauritian Prime Minister departed for home on Tuesday evening.

Also during the week that was, the President’s schedule included briefings by the Ministries of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs.

On Wednesday he accepted the Credentials of the incoming High Commissioner for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Mr. Okubotin Charles Cocodia. Following the ceremony the High Commissioner noted that Nigeria was working with Botswana and neighbouring countries on the possibility of directly exporting petroleum to the region. To further reduce costs the prospect of a local refinery is also being explored. 

On Thursday, Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, was a Guest of Honour at the Limkokwing University Graduation ceremony. Last weekend, the Minister was also the Guest of Honour at a Francistown UCCSA Fundraiser. While in the North-East he further inspected poverty eradication projects.

In Parliament, the Minister responded to Members Questions on the President’s salary and upkeep, which were revealed to be modest by regional standards, the appointment of Director General Counsel, to provide appropriate in-house legal services to the President, and Government’s proactive follow-up Election Observer Mission recommendations.




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