Botswana on Tuesday committed to supporting Kenya’s bid for the non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the period 2021 to 2022.
“Kenya asked that we support its candidature for the opportunity to be voted into the security council of the United Nations on a non-permanent basis, and we assure that Botswana will vote for Kenya even before Kenya votes for itself,” Visiting Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said at State House Nairobi.
“We in Botswana remain committed to our Pan-Africanist outlook. And so, it should be perceived as automatic that given our shared values over a long period of time, there is no way that we will not share those values when it comes to issues that besiege us such as challenges that we both face and the opportunities that present themselves,” he added.
Kenya will also broaden its areas with Botswana to include the minerals and mining sector, livestock breeding, trade, tourism promotion, agribusiness and manufacturing, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
The two countries signed three key agreements on bilateral trade, air transport and ICT, opening a new chapter of cooperation between the two states.
The agreements were signed at the end of talks between Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting President Mokgweetsi Masisi at State House, Nairobi.
“I wish to reiterate Kenya’s steadfast commitment to continued cooperation with Botswana both at the bilateral and multilateral levels to further deepen our bonds of cooperation and friendship,” President Kenyatta said.
He encouraged trade and investments through private-public partnerships and joint ventures between business communities of the two countries to strengthen government-to-government and people-to-people interactions.
“It is, therefore, vital that we foster business and investment exchanges,” Uhuru said.
President Kenyatta noted that the recent launch of the operational phase of AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger, was a step in the right direction towards continental trade integration and free movement of people, goods and services.
“Our private talks with President Kenyatta and the bilateral meeting between our respective delegations go to cement further the close historic ties enjoyed by the two countries,” Masisi said.
At the press briefing, President Kenyatta said his administration is keen to broaden the two countries’ areas of cooperation.
“I look forward to working closely with Your Excellency and other colleagues to fully operationalize the AfCFTA and accelerate the ongoing reforms of the African Union to make it more responsive to the challenges confronting the continent,” Uhuru said.
Kenya and Botswana established bilateral relations immediately after Botswana attained her independence in 1966.
Kenya opened a fully-fledged High Commission in 2001 while Botswana upgraded its Consulate in Kenya in June 2006.
Of the three agreements signed, one was on the avoidance of double taxation which was signed by Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma and Internal Affairs and Cooperation Minister Unity Dow for Kenya and Botswana respectively.
Others are a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) and Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in ICT.
The trade levels between the two countries are low. In 2015, Kenya’s exports to Botswana stood at Sh108 million, while imports were Sh26 million only.