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US to supports knowledge-based economy ambitions

24 May 2023

Botswana’s intention to build a knowledge-based economy has been described as a foresighted approach to a wide range of issues.

  Presenting letters of credence in Gaborone yesterday, incoming US ambassador Mr Howard Van Vranken assured President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi of his country’s preparedness to assist Botswana realise its aspirations. 

“We will also be partnering with you where we can to help you in the diversification of the economy and to help you build a knowledge-based economy,” he said. 

   Expressing America’s excitement at Botswana’s hosting of Africa Business Summit later this year, Ambassador Van Vranken promised that the US would send a high-powered delegation to ensure the summit’s success. 

He praised Botswana for being an example of good governance, the rule of law and admirable management of natural resources. 

“Many countries admire Botswana for her traditional democracy,” he said. 

   The ambassador also commended President Masisi for representing the country well in the international arena through engagements with other leaders. 

As a result, he said, Botswana had earned stripes for showing other countries how things should be done. 

“…this is inspirational and I am delighted to be here,” said Mr  Van Vranken. 

For his part, President Masisi explained that although Botswana was classified as an upper middle-income economy, it had a narrow-based economy due to reliance on one product. 

“We continue to engage America and going forward in different fields including our determination to transition to a knowledge-based economy,” he said. 

President Masisi said Botswana therefore welcomed education and research partnerships adding that the hosting of Africa Business Summit in July was a step in the right direction. 

He pointed out that Botswana and the US had a long-standing partnership which dated back to the days when America used to provide the country with malutu or fortified food as drought relief.

“That was soon after independence when we received the first massive aid by the US through USAID,” he said. 

Dr Masisi said the second wave of American assistance was when Botswana was ravaged by HIV/AIDS which included research capacitation. 

Consequently, Botswana was on top of the world with regard to research capacity building, he said.

The President said America also demonstrated its benevolence  in the face of the recent global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said America was Botswana’s ally although the latter remained non-aligned. 

“Botswana has a foreign policy that is very progressive but we are still circumspect,” he said. 

Meanwhile, President Masisi has assured the new Western Sahara ambassador of Botswana’s continued support for the country.

Botswana, he told Mr Bah Elmad Abdellah, recognised the country as a fully independent sovereign state and a member of the international community. 

Ambassador Abdellah, who was presenting his credentials, heard that Botswana rebuffed any attempt to undermine Western Sahara’s sovereignty. 

Dr Masisi told the ambassador that he was at liberty to serve like any other envoy accredited to Botswana. 

He said Botswana and Western Sahara had agreed to roll out a bilateral programme that would assist both countries to explore different fields of cooperation. 

Ambassador Abdellah expressed Western Sahara’s appreciation for Botswana’s support.  Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Mmoniemang Motsamai

Location : Gaborone

Event : credentials

Date : 24 May 2023