Namibia and Botswana are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for a one-stop border post at the Trans-Kalahari–Mamuno entry point, a move aimed at facilitating the free movement of people and goods between the two nations.
This was revealed by Botswana permanent secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, Gladys Mokhawa, during the opening inaugural session of the Namibia-Botswana Bi-national Commission (BNC) in Gaborone, Botswana yesterday.
The BNC started yesterday and it is set to end on Thursday.
This development is widely expected to address issues of delays, which are often experienced at most border posts as well as promote the smooth flow of goods through the removal of often perceived “restrictive” operational procedures at borders.
The BNC is a high-level bilateral platform that replaced the Joint Commission on Cooperation and the Joint Permanent Commission on Security and Defence between the two countries through an agreement signed during the working visit by Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi to Windhoek in January this year.
Mokhawa said other agreements to be signed include a memorandum of understanding on sport development, the draft agreement on the interstate transfer of sentenced persons, the draft agreement on cooperation in the areas of trade, industrial development and investment and the draft rules of procedure governing the meetings of the bi-national commission.
She said to date, the two nations have concluded and signed MoUs and agreements in various fields, including the International Boundary Treaty, which was signed on 5 February 2018, in Windhoek.
Speaking at the same occasion, Namibia’s ministry of international relations, executive director Penda Naanda said he is convinced that the deliberations will be geared towards strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
“We have two days during which we as senior officials will discuss and exhaust all the agenda items, which will culminate in the preparation of relevant reports and other documents for the ministerial session,” he said.
“Our deliberations should prioritise those signed agreements and those new ones we will consider that are critical in the context of bilateral trade, industrial development and investment, cross border security cooperation, as well as exploration and exploitation of shared natural resources along our common border.”
He said as a case in point, he is particularly drawn to highlight the Trans Kalahari Railway Line Project and more recently the two countries’ joint bid to host the African Cup of Nation (Afcon) Finals in 2027.
Indeed, he said such collaboration goes a long way in making meaningful benefits for our two people and countries.
President Hage Geingob is expected to attend the inaugural BNC session of the head of states on Thursday. Geingob, who is expected back in the country on Friday, will be accompanied by international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and safety and security minister Albert Kawana.
Other members of the delegation include agriculture, water, and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein, health minister Kalumbi Shangula, industrialisation minister Lucia Iipumbu, attorney general Festus Mbandeka and deputy minister of defence Hilma Nicanor.