Zim-Bots BNC shifts into third gear

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa and his Botswana counterpart Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are expected to arrive in Victoria Falls today ahead of tomorrow’s official opening of the third Session of the Zimbabwe–Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) Conference.

Twelve Zimbabwean ministers and eight from Botswana arrived here yesterday and will participate in today’s ministerial session, which will fine-tune the conference agenda and iron out issues before the Presidents’ meeting.

The BNC proceedings started on Monday with a meeting of senior officials from both countries who were tasked with deliberating on various memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and preparing for the signing of key bilateral agreements tomorrow.

Yesterday the resort city of Victoria Falls was alive, with increased vehicular and human traffic as more guests from both countries trooped in. The bulk of Zimbabwean ministers arrived in the morning and were briefed about proceedings from the first two days of the gathering.

These were Frederick Shava (Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri (Defence and War Veterans Affairs), Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu (Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Anxious Masuka (Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement), Kazembe Kazembe (Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage) and Amon Murwira (Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology).

Others are Monica Mutsvangwa (Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services), Dr Sekai Nzenza (Industry and Commerce), Jenfan Muswere (Information Communication Technologies and Courier and Postal Services) and Paul Mavima (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare).

Botswana Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation Dr Lemogang Kwape landed at the Victoria Falls International Airport late afternoon accompanied by four ministers and they were welcomed by Minister Shava, who said all was set for the ministerial meeting, which will culminate into the official opening by the Heads of State and Government, Presidents Mnangagwa and Masisi of Botswana.

“We are here to discuss matters of mutual interest between Zimbabwe and Botswana. So, from the 21st to yesterday officials from both countries were having a meeting here to look at the various areas-political, economic, tourism, security, which they examining and interrogating to make the way forward,” he said.

“So, today ministers are arriving, and the Zimbabwean ministers arrived in the morning and we have 12 from the Zimbabwe side so far and were briefed by the Zimbabwean side of officials.

“I’m from the airport to receive my counterpart Dr Kwape who has arrived with four other ministers and we are still waiting for the arrival of more ministers from Botswana.”

He said the first two days of the conference had progressed well according to reports from the technical teams.

“We are now preparing to have a meeting tomorrow with our counterparts from Botswana. Today we will interact and tomorrow morning we have official meeting of the ministers and prepare for the arrival of the Heads of State,” said Minister Shava.

He said Presidents Mnangagwa and Masisi will both arrive today and will be briefed on what has transpired.

President Mnangagwa will arrive earlier to welcome his Botswana counterpart, ahead of tomorrow’s official proceedings where more than half a dozen agreements are expected to be signed, said Dr Shava.

Some of the draft agreements that are ready for signing tomorrow are on agriculture, child protection, water, gainful employment of diplomatic spouse and tourism.

The agreements are expected to enhance bilateral cooperation and harmonise trade across all sectors, including the Small and Medium Enterprises, an essential component for economic growth in the two countries. – @ncubeleon.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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