By News Ghana
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi started a 24-hour official visit to Angola for bilateral consultations with his Angolan counterpart, Joao Lourenco on Tuesday afternoon in Luanda
Masisi is accompanied by ministers of defense, foreign affairs, and environment and other senior officials of the Botswana government.
Angola and Botswana are members of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) together with three other Southern African countries, namely, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
One top issue that is expected be at the center of talks between the delegations of the two countries is the fact that Angola could help ease Botswana’s elephant overpopulation (130,000) to a level that is sustainable for biodiversity.
Unofficial estimates indicate that in Angola, the elephant population which began to grow from 2015 is currently reaching just over 3,000 heads, compared with about 70,000 before the 1970s, at that time one of the largest populations in sub-Saharan Africa.
In May last year, Angolan Environment Minister, Paula Francisco Coelho said in the city of Kasane in Botswana during the Elephant Summit that poaching in the country, which has now become an international organized crime, is the “main threat” to elephant survival in Angola.
Under the KAZA migration corridors Angola would be able accommodate the pachyderms from Botswana which according to official statistics has 130,000 elephants.
However, despite Angola’s southeast highlands and wetlands providing perfect environment for the giants, landmine is still a big issue as a result of the 30 years of civil war which ended in 2002. This is the second time the president of Botswana visits Angola. In April 2018, Masisi paid a visit to Angola in the framework of strengthening cooperation between the two countries.
Both countries are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which seeks to consolidate the foundations to create a free trade zone.