Botswana president Masisi to visit neighbours

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi will visit two countries one week after his inauguration.

According to a government statement, President Masisi will Monday pay a one-day state visit to Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The statement said the tour aims at deepening and broadening the scope of bilateral cooperation and discussing regional, continental and global issues of mutual concern with his counterparts Hage Geingob and Emmerson Mnangagwa.

President Masisi will be accompanied by the International Affairs and Cooperation and with Transport and Communications ministers, Mr Vincent Seretse and Mr Onkokame Kitso Mokaila respectively.

The largest economy

The president and his entourage are expected to return to Gaborone later on Monday.

Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The SADC bloc also includes Angola, DR Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.

South Africa is the largest economy and the most developed SADC states.

President Masisi, 55, was inaugurated as Botswana’s fifth president last Sunday.

His swearing-in ceremony in parliament came after President Ian Khama stepped down, ahead of completing the constitutional maximum 10 years in office.

Botswana is one of the Africa’s most stable countries and the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy.

Relative prosperity

It is rated as the least corrupt country in Africa by Transparency International and has a good human rights record.

But it has also struggled with rising unemployment rate of about 18 per cent and an HIV/Aids epidemic.

“It is because of the peace and tranquillity that our leaders have sustained for so long that Batswana (people) have continued to enjoy relative prosperity,” President Masisi said after taking his oath.

“One of my top priorities as the president of this country will be to address the problem of unemployment, especially amongst the young people,” he added.

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