Botswana: Botswana and Kenya are looking at exploring the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to deepen mutually beneficial economic ties, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane has said.
Speaking after bilateral talks with Kenya President, William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua at the State House in Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon, Tsogwane said the two nations recognised the need to utilise the AfCFTA instrument to boost intra-Africa trade by eliminating tariffs and barriers to access the continental market of over a billion people.
Vice President Tsogwane said both the Botswana and Kenyan leadership had emerged from the talks in one accord that there is a need to boost the volume of trade between the two nations, including identifying potential direct investment opportunities and means to solidify regional integration with a view to increasing the current volume of trade among African countries from 17 to 50 percent.
The bilateral talks further shared common ideas on the importance of value chains in various sectors, including the cattle industry, a common economic mainstay between the two states as well as small stock production and horticulture, in which Kenya has emerged as a serious global export player, and Botswana views as an area of expansion.
Botswana would be keen to pursue these areas of mutual interest with Kenya through exchange programmes covering students and farmers, the Vice President revealed.
Furthermore, Kenya expressed interest in getting support from Botswana on fighting animal, plant and human diseases, Tsogwane said.
On the other hand, Ruto noted the huge trade potential between Kenya and Botswana while lamenting that the volumes of trade between the two states remain proportionately low.
He expressed the desire for Kenya to expand trade in horticulture, petroleum oils, medicines, textiles, cutlery and furniture through the AfCFTA and for the two states to explore mutually beneficial areas of economic cooperation.
Ruto had invited the President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, to the United Nations (UN) Habitat Assembly in Nairobi this week, but he was unable to come owing to the death of his mother, Precious Masisi, last Saturday.
President Ruto thanked Tsogwane for honouring the invitation on the President’s behalf and further conveyed a message of condolence to Dr Masisi, his family and the nation of Botswana on the bereavement. BOPA. Pako lebanna.