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Masisi proposes partnership with US institution

22 Mar 2023

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has proposed the crafting of a mutually beneficial partnership between the US’ Virginia Polytechnic and Botswana.

 The two parties already have a strong relationship particularly in conservation and research.

 Dr Masisi said through the proposed partnership,  the institution could share its experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines to help Botswana build capacity for knowledge creation as well as improve management and containment of contagious wildlife diseases.

  Giving a lecture at the institution  Tuesday, he said although Botswana Vaccine Institute was able to contain Foot and Mouth Disease and supply vaccines to other countries, it needed more capacitation.

 More capacitation was needed to deal with and contain other microbial diseases that affected both animals and human health, he explained.

   Speaking on the topic: Merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development, Dr Masisi stated that production and use of animal vaccines was essential for conservation and dealing with trans-border diseases.

The President said Botswana  had a keen interest to understand the epidemiology and ecology of both domestic and wild animal diseases which could negatively impact its livestock industry.

He explained to his audience that Batswana depended on livestock and it was therefore in the national interest to avoid the dire consequences of animal diseases on livelihoods.

On conservation, President Masisi said Botswana took pride in having integrated environmental management in its national development plans.

Noting that Batswana had been conserving natural resources since before independence in 1966, he said more than 40 per cent of the country’s total surface area had been set aside for conservation purposes.

A lecturer and researcher with the polytechnic’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Dr Kathleen Alexander, described Botswana as a conservation success story where many wildlife species were protected unlike anywhere else in the world.

“The international community knows that Botswana is committed to ensuring that resources along the borderlines are shared equitably and are sustainable,” she added.

Prof Alexander applauded Botswana for its commitment towards conservation, community empowerment, education and research.

Botswana, she said, was one of the countries in which researchers could do their work in peace and translate their findings for the benefit of communities.

Prof. Alexander revealed that the polytechnic had listed the University of Botswana (UB) as the best place to study in southern Africa.

 It recognised UB’s competitive courses in African studies, STEM and environmental sciences, she said. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Tshireletso Stoffel

Location : Virginia

Event : Meeting

Date : 22 Mar 2023