The Sunday News
Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE incorporation of the private sector in the Zimbabwe/Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) sessions is key in unlocking business opportunities for local companies towards realisation of regional cooperation.
This came out during the third session of the Zimbabwe/Botswana BNC which ended on Friday in Victoria Falls where the two countries signed five Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)s bringing to 25 agreements the two fraternal neighbours have entered into as a way of fostering cooperation and collaboration of various socio-economic fronts.
The third session of the BNC is testimony to Zimbabwe and Botswana’s commitment to strengthen bilateral relations and determination to achieve socio-economic development which is a key objective of the BNC.
With a resolution already in place to hold Business Forums on the sidelines of the annual BNC sessions as a way of incorporating the private sector to the two country’s cooperation agenda, plans are underway by the two nations at BNC level, to exhibit at the upcoming Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in April.
Speaking during discussions, delegates said a Business Forum will be held at ZITF which will take place from 26 to 30 April in Bulawayo.
There was no Business Forum at the third session because of the Dubai Expo 2020 currently underway.
However, there were some exhibitions by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency and ZimTrade on the sidelines of the session.
The first session of the BNC was held in Zimbabwe in February 2019 before the second session in Maun in February 2020.
Because of Covid-19 pandemic, physical meetings were suspended with only a mid-term review meeting being held in December 2020.
Speaking during the official signing ceremony of the five agreements, President Mnangagwa and President Mokgweetsi Masisi, said stronger relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana must ultimately serve as building blocks towards accelerating our integration in the Sadc region and continent.
“Zimbabwe remains open for business.
I once again invite companies from Botswana to come to Zimbabwe and explore the many available investment opportunities.
The Business Forums that we are hosting on the sidelines of these Bi-National Commissions meetings must help unlock opportunities for our business communities and further translate into concrete investments,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Zimbabwe under the Second Republic has embarked on a development path with massive programmes in agriculture and infrastructure development as the country drives towards attaining an upper middle income society by 2030. Bilateral and regional collaboration is key towards meeting these aspirations.
“As we scale up our relations, it remains important that the impact of our cooperation be felt across all levels of our communities from the grassroots.
The realisation of the Sadc vision 2050 and the goals of the African Union Agenda 2063 are only possible when we the member countries work together with the unity of purpose as we are doing this.
Let me briefly mention that Zimbabwe is on course towards economic recovery, growth and sustainable economic and social developments.
The approach has resulted in the increased capacitation of local firms while also enhancing the skills development of our young professionals,” said President Mnangagwa.
President Masisi said the Business Forums idea was already bearing fruit.
“I note with great satisfaction our continued commitment to involve the participation of the private sector on the margins of our annual meetings of the BNC.
This is a clear recognition of the important role played by the private sector in driving the development of the two economies.
I am happy to note that the convening of the Business Forums on the margins of the BNC meetings is already beginning to bear fruit, as it has been instrumental to the setting-up of a business by Botswana Organic Fertiliser Manufacturers in Harare,” said President Masisi.
He said the BNC has also provided a platform for the two sisterly countries to engage on other issues of mutual interest at the regional and international fora such as Sadc, the African Union as well as the United Nations and its specialised agencies. — @ncubeleon