Botswana Vice President Slumber Tsogwane said his country is courting strong partnerships with India going forward amid the cementing of African Continental Free Area.
Tsogwane reiterated that India wil be a strong partner cementing pharmaceutical, technological and industrial transfer to the Southern African country.
“Given its long and successful association with Africa, we encourage India’s EXIM Bank to continue to look into innovative modalities to facilitate the development of industries and financial services. There is also a need for partnerships in social and physical infrastructure projects which will further position Africa to improve inter – connectivity and develop its capacity to trade and invest globally,” Tsogwana said .
Tsogwane added that Botswana and India have a long history of relations underpinned by shared democratic values.
“Cooperation between Botswana and India is very strong in sectors such as education, health, agriculture, ICT, trade and investment, diamond beneficiation and capacity building in general. More detail on the Health and Agriculture cooperation will be discussed by Ministers of Botswana who will be participating in the thematic sessions of the Forum,” he said.
He reiterated that while partnerships between India and Africa are vital going forward the two parties are engaging at a rather unusual circumstance overshadowed by the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic which has decimated lives as well as halted business.
“We are meeting at a very difficult time of widespread human suffering and economic uncertainty. We are also heartened to acknowledge that at the peak of the pandemic, India, despite its own challenges, donated lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines to Botswana and other developing countries both in Africa and Asia.
“Botswana once again extends great appreciation to the Government and the people of India for their generosity and spirit of solidarity by leading the way in ensuring that Africa is not left behind in accessing vaccines,” he said.
The Botswana VP said the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for Africa to build her capacity to develop pharmaceutical industries in order to deal with existing tropical diseases, and pandemics now and in future.
“As a leading producer of pharmaceutical drugs, India is well positioned to assist Africa in this regard. I wish thus, to invite manufacturers of vaccines and medicines, some of whom are present in this Forum, to set up production facilities in our region, and I strongly suggest Botswana in this regard,” he said.