By Mooketsi Mojalemotho, The Botswana Daily News
Botswana and Kenya are to hold further discussions on the ivory issue with a view to reach a consensus, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
“We have instructed Ministers of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and Defence to look into this matter further and to bring the matter to conclusion soon,” he said in an interview Wednesday at the end of his three-day state visit to Kenya.
He said the issue around wildlife economy, particularly trade in ivory, was one of several he discussed with his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta. Botswana and Kenya hold two diametrically opposed views on the issue.
While Botswana and other countries within the SADC bloc wanted trade in ivory legalised, Kenya and others have demonstrated resistance on the matter. President Masisi said the state visit was successful as it had helped broaden bilateral ties between Botswana and Kenya.
The visit was preceded by the 5th session of the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC), which essentially looked at past, present and future areas of cooperation between the two African nations with a view to maximise benefits for the people of the two countries.
Established in 2001, the JPCC between Botswana and Kenya covers among other areas, health, tourism, education and agriculture. During the visit, agreements on double taxation avoidance and bilateral air service as well as Memorandum of Understanding in the field of ICT were signed by the two parties.
A team of Botswana business people formed part of the visit and met with their counterparts in the East African nation in an effort to forge trade and investment ties.
President Masisi was accompanied by First Lady Neo Masisi, some cabinet ministers, President of the Customary Court of Appeal (South) Kgosi Mothibe Linchwe, MPs Christian De Graaf and Abram Kesupile for Ghanzi South and Kanye South respectively as well as other senior government officials.
While in Kenya, President Masisi and his entourage visited various places such as the geothermal plant in Naivasha as well as the UN offices.