The governments of Namibia and Botswana have agreed to collaborate in the procurement and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. This was confirmed by both President Hage Geingob and his counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi, who was in Namibia last Friday for a one-day working visit.
Briefing the reporters at State House, Masisi explained both heads of state discussed areas of economic cooperation, including in the tourism and health space in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are dead committed to procuring vaccines. We have shared an elaborative plan that ministers will talk about, where we will collaborate to protect our citizens. We are committed to Covid,” he said.
“We are shopping where we can acquire vaccines. We have decided to collaborate in areas that are pre-requisite to the beginning of the immunisation programme to prevention. He said, as to where and when the vaccines will be bought, Botswana has not yet put a shopping hand as procurement process must follow due processes.”
Namibian health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe told New Era both leaders discussed issues related to Covid-19 vaccine procurement, delivery of medicine from suppliers and possibilities of pulling resources for these vaccines.
“That is at a political level. The modalities on how it is going to be implemented will be worked out by a technical team. The discussion went very well. The technical team will take up the matter and see how the political intent of leaders will be implemented,” Nangombe explained.
He, however, clarified that the collaboration with Botswana does not mean Namibia’s announcement to acquire its first batch of vaccines due this month is abandoned. “We have not abandoned our own process to acquire vaccine for Namibia.
This is a two-track process. We have indicated that we are engaging with different countries. We are engaging countries and suppliers on a bilateral basis. Namibia, as a sovereign country, is pursuing our own processes to acquire the vaccine as soon as possible,” Nangombe clarified.
Masisi assured that together with his delegation, they all had their Covid-19 negative 72 PCR certificate, which is a pre-requisite to fly into Namibia.
At the same press briefing, Namibia and Botswana foreign affairs ministers signed an agreement to establish a Bi-National Joint Commission for both countries.