Botswana Kimberley Process chair in 2022
By Ketshepile More
Botswana is to assume chairmanship of the Kimberley Process in 2022, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has revealed.
Speaking during a valedictory call by outgoing Russian ambassador Dr Victor Sibilev on Friday, President Masisi said the decision for Botswana to succeed Russia as chair was mutual and consensual by the two countries.
He said Botswana and Russia enjoyed close cooperation in the Kimberley Process framework with the Russian Federation as current chair deputised by the former until 2021.
President Masisi appealed for Russian Federation support to the Kimberley Process secretariat to be hosted in Botswana.
The President said Botswana remained committed to transparency and openness to the participation of other countries. On Botswana-Russia relations, President Masisi said the mutual respect and reciprocity of kindness between the two countries had been exemplary.
The two countries had achieved their intensions but there was always room for more, he said.
Dr Masisi noted that Botswana and Russian governments had signed agreements which facilitated the training of public servants particularly Botswana Police Service and Botswana Defence Force officers as well as undergraduate studies for Batswana in Russia.
He said there was a need to explore the area of agricultural technology as well as to find ways and means of rejuvenating interaction and support of investment by Russian companies in the auto industry space in Botswana.
For his part, Dr Sibilev said during his six-year tour of duty in Botswana, he registered a number of achievements among them the signing in 2016 of a Memorandum of Understanding in the area of education which made it possible for Batswana to study in Russia.
The Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the field of defence signed in 2018 provided education for Botswana military officers, he said.
According to Dr Sibilev, the highlight of his tenure was the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Exemption of Visa Requirements for nationals of both Russia and Botswana in 2019.
He said the agreement created more comfortable conditions for citizens of both countries to interact in the spheres of tourism, business and people to people contacts.
Addressing Japanese ambassador Mr Kozo Takeda, whose term has also ended, Dr Masisi said his tour of duty in Botswana had been a remarkable one especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the assistance offered by Japan to Botswana in COVID-19 mitigation would forever be cherished.
President Masisi said Botswana’s affection for the Japanese way was born out of the country’s resolve to develop and become a high-income society.Mr Takeda expressed gratitude to President Masisi for his kind support during his three-year stay in Botswana which enabled him to complete his term diligently.