… Geingob pinpoints key areas of preferred economic integration
By Hilary Mare
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has told Botswana that Namibia is open for business and would like to see more trade and investment between the two states in a bid to renew and strengthen the existing good bilateral relations.
Speaking to delegates at the official opening of the Botswana- Namibia business seminar during his state visit to Botswana, Geingob pinpointed the key areas in which he hoped for economic integration highlighting cross-border projects as pivotal to the development of both countries.
“Some specific cross-border projects that I would like to challenge captains of industry from both countries present here today to get involved in include the construction of a railway line to export Botswana coal to the world markets via Namibia; the desalination of seawater for human consumption and to sustain the needs of our businesses, the development of electricity generating capacity for own consumption, as well as for exports; and the development of regional value chains in manufacturing,” he said.
Acknowledging that Botswana and Namibia have sound democratic governance policies in place with economies that are well managed by all standards, Geingob also stated that although, Botswana and Namibia may be small in terms of population size, the two have fairly robust and diversified economies, and can indeed play a crucial leadership role in the New Africa.
“Both our countries have low levels of debt exposure, in particular foreign debt, and both Botswana and Namibia form part of a handful of African economies that can boast investment grade ratings by international rating agencies such as Fitch and Moody.
“In the case of Namibia, we are rated as BBB positive. However, in Botswana, Moody set your credit rating at A2 with a stable outlook, in part because you have the highest import coverage on the continent and one of the highest in the world. Moreover, your growth trajectory over the past four decades has been phenomenal. Luckily enough you are our neighbour otherwise, based on your growth trajectory alone, one could easily have mistaken you for one of the South East Asian Tigers.
“The prudent and disciplined way in which you have managed your economy has paid off. Fix capital formation has been remarkable and one can safely say that the Botswana today and the Botswana at independence are miles apart. Forever gone are the days that Gaborone was referred to as a cattle post. I commend and salute you on this excellent progress,” he said.
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