The Makings of True Friendship

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK An old adage goes: to attract good fortune, spend a new coin on an old friend. True to this adage, Botswana will donate 40 waterbuck and Tsessebe to Namibia, while Namibia donated four black Rhino. Botswana appreciates the generous donation and in return pledged to give 40 waterbuck and Tsessebe, announced the country’s President Festus Mogae at a state banquet hosted for him on Tuesday night. The friendship between the two nations dates back to the days of the German colonial genocide of 1904-7 when the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu speaking Namibians sought refuge in neighbouring Botswana. Botswana, stated President Pohamba, was home for Swapo cadres and many other Namibians fleeing apartheid colonialism at home, and this is the foundation upon which the bilateral relations have been built. Throughout the years, the two countries have proved to be friends at social, economic and political levels. Yesterday, Mogae witnessed the handover of the dry dock facility that Botswana will use for her import and export of goods. Mogae expressed gratitude for this gesture from Namibia, stating: “We are particularly delighted Mr President that Namibia has offered to lease to Botswana a piece of land at the Port of Walvis Bay for the development of a dry dock for her imports and exports.” The President called on the private sector of both countries to take full advantage of the opportunities being offered by the facility. In support, President Pohamba invited the private sector of Botswana to come to Namibia and explore business opportunities with local counterparts. Conversely, Botswana has in the past years bore testimony to the development that Namibia as a neighbouring country has made in her 16 years of independence. According to Mogae, his country is inspired by the achievements Namibia continues to register in various fields of human endeavour. “Since its independence, Namibia has been transformed into a truly democratic country, characterised by regular, free and fair elections, respect for human rights and the rule of law,” stated 66-year-old Mogae. Namibia has invested substantially in the construction and renovation of schools, health centres and roads among other infrastructure. Mogae applauded the Namibian Government for the recently tabled budget 2006/7 which has been proclaimed pro-poor. The budget targets the poorest population of society by allocating resources towards economic activities that would help them escape the poverty trap. As friends, Botswana has invited Namibia to continue to do everything possible to cooperate in addressing challenges brought about by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The two countries pledged to continue supporting each other and cooperate for mutual benefit in the development of specific sectors.