Zambia and Botswana are keen to foster and accelerate economic growth so that the lives of the people in the two countries can be improved, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has said.
And Botswana’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi has called for increased vigilance on the part of the two countries’ borders, especially with the construction of the Kazungula Bridge project which has already attracted heightened activities.
Mr Kalaba said Zambians and Tswanas could only be empowered by ensuring that resources and benefits trickled down to those at the grassroots.
He said it was therefore important for the two countries to maximize and exploit the existing opportunities between the two countries adding that the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) framework provided a very important platform for negotiations and cultivating cooperation in the new areas of mutual interest between the two countries.
Speaking during the official opening of the 15th session of the Zambia-Botswana Joint Permanent Commission in Livingstone on Thursday, Mr Kalaba said the session gave the two countries an opportunity to explore new areas of cooperation existing. “Considering that the JPC hasn’t been convened since 2010, I wish to urge the senior official to reinvigorate the agreed areas of cooperation of the last session and explore new areas of cooperation. Am happy that notable progress has been made in implementation of the resolutions of the last session such as the implementation of the bilateral air service agreement, cooperation in customs matters, tourism, and foreign affairs.” he said.
And Mr Moitoi said while it was regrettable that the two countries were not able to hold the session earlier, it was pleasing that the people of the two countries continued to interact.
“In the transport sector, Botswana and Zambia have embarked upon an ambitious project of bridging the Zambezi through the Kazungula bridge project. The project will serve to facilitate the movement of people and goods between Botswana and Zambia as well as catalyzing trade in the sub-region. “As expected, the bridge is already attracting heightened activity in the border area calling for increased vigilance on the part of the border agencies.