Namibia and Botswana should look to common solutions for common problems, like the prevailing water shortage and the desalination of seawater for human consumption, as some of the challenges that need urgent attention, says President Hage Geingob.
Geingob made the remarks on the first day of a two-day State visit to Botswana, where he spoke about the common problems facing the two countries.
He said the challenge of desalinating seawater for human consumption should be tackled through Namibia’s own resources, as well as tapping into regional developmental finance institutions and global initiatives, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
“The future of Africa is bright. Africa is rising and by all projections will soon be the fastest growing region on the planet. Although Namibia and Botswana may be small in terms of population and size, we have fairly robust and diversified economies and can indeed play a crucial role in the New Africa.
“My wish is that the two countries embark on joint national initiatives, such as water and energy security, to put both Namibia and Botswana on a higher sustainable shared growth trajectory,” he noted.
He said apart from tackling the perennial water shortages, it was also important for the two countries to get involved in the construction of a railway line to export Botswanan coal to the rest of the world via the Port of Walvis Bay.
While encouraging more trade between Namibia and Botswana, he noted that the neighouring country has always been a refuge and safe haven for Namibians who, like himself, fled from colonial oppression.
He noted that Botswana has a record of sound democratic governance with the lowest level of graft on the continent and a well-managed economy and that its growth trajectory over the past four decades has been phenomenal.
Geingob said the possibility of harvesting seawater for the two countries’ benefit must be investigated urgently. “We are the two most drought-prone countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the reality is that with climate change it will only worsen. We must find solutions for this common problem,” Geingob stressed.
He concluded by saying the strengths and legacy of the two countries lie in their concerted efforts to ensure that the future should be shaped by the plans and policies they craft today. To achieve this, the two countries should hold hands in the spirit Harambee to fight for a common goal, facing challenges together and succeeding together.