It is indeed my singular honour to officiate at the unveiling of the Botswana 50 logo. As Africans we have travelled the same path in our fight to emancipate ourselves from years of bondage and it is that history that binds us together as a people.
This unveiling signifies the distance that our neighbours have travelled and transformed themselves into a modern day democracy and have become a shining beacon in Africa. Botswana is one of the most peaceful and prosperous nations on this continent. We must applaud them. It takes visionary, dedicated and selfless leadership to achieve great nation building.
1. Your founding president and one of Africa’s first generation of statesmen Sir Seretse Khama holds a special place in the history of this continent.
2. We note that this City has not yet accorded any departed honours for the former President. It is not too late to do so. In this regard it is not premature to indicate that we have provisionally requested this Embassy to obtain approval or endorsement in principle from the family of Sir Seretse Khama and your government to allow us to consider this intention further.
3. City to City Relationships
The City of Harare wishes to share exchanges with Cities in Botswana. After 50 years we know you have stories to tell. We see a lot of mutual benefits arising out of experience sharing and formalised connections.
4. Investments and Partnerships
The City of Harare is a mini-government in a number of respects. Our budget size equates the municipality with a number of Government Ministries combined. We replicate and serve a number of central government activities and services.
We look with admiration on the very significant developments which Botswana (and Gaborone as an example) has proudly made in the same period that we as a country have suffered our decline. We have a lot of infrastructural projects needed to bridge a planning deficit of over 25 years.
From the time of Sir Seretse Khama to the current President Ian Khama, the country has recorded some of the highest and most impressive economic growth rates in Africa and that is the reason for celebration. It is something that every African country should emulate. Your country has some of the best trade policies in the region, allowing numerous foreign investments and yet has maintained its sovereignty and self-determination. Botswana has an important role to play in the economy of the region.
We see opportunities to marry your success stories with Harare’s aspirations. We would be interested in a formalised platform in which we could explore the prospects to “copy-and-paste” your milestones for our own developments.
In this regard we request this Embassy is considering a working visit for a delegation from our City to Botswana.
5. Surrogate Support
Our Government and country are generally adversely affected by a poor global ranking for long-term financing and development options. These are largely attributable to bad national politics.
We however foresee an opportunity for decoupling the compromised national brand from the Capital City’s projects. With this thought comes the prospect of Gaborone as a City, your Government or other dominant institutions playing surrogate roles for some of Harare’s long term needs. We foresee this midwife route presenting much higher additional prospects for our City.
6. I have in previous encounters also shared with you Acting Ambassador other areas of cross-border partnership which we hope you will find time to pursue.
7. Revival of the Proposed Credit Facility
Further to other foregoing thoughts, our Council specifically (and the urban local government fraternity collectively) would like to explore, with your assistance, the opportunity for our tier of government to assume the offerings and obligations of the credit facility previously offered by the government of Botswana with or without variations.
It is our hope that your country continues to be the torch bearer socially, economically and politically in the region. Botswana remains one of the most notable cultural hubs in the region. The people have maintained their cultural identity for years. We all know of those trademark Batswana dancing and dressing.
Your Excellency, we are very proud to be associated with a country with so much positive history and a legacy that most countries the world over envy. That logo must keep the spirit of Batswana going forward.