President Hage Geingob travelled to Ghanzi in Botswana for a friendly visit with his counterpart from that country, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and to officially open the Ghanzi Agricultural Show earlier on Saturday.
While delivering the keynote address an officially opining the event Dr. Geingob said that as a region, through the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, all member states have embarked upon a drive to leverage the abundant and diverse resources, especially in the agriculture and mining sectors, in order to accelerate industrialization through beneficiation and value addition.
“Industrial Shows have several economic spinoffs which contribute to the development of local economies within our countries. As is evident here in Ghanzi, the hosting of this show has resulted in the expansion of local infrastructure, particularly accommodation facilities.”
The full keynote address by Dr. Geingob reads as follows:
I bring you warm and fraternal greetings from the people of the Republic of Namibia.
It is an honour for me to be here, amongst our Batswana brothers and sisters, to participate in this momentous occasion of the 45th annual Ghanzi Show, held under the theme, “Sustainable Economic Diversification beyond 50 years Through Green Technology.”
This is an interesting theme; as it speaks to our ambition of pursuing our developmental aspirations in a sustainable manner.
Before I speak to the occasion that brought us here, it is only fitting that I briefly outline the significance of the historic and deep-rooted bond between the people of Botswana and Namibia. We are not just neighbours – but are bound by blood, making us brothers and sisters in the Southern African House in particular and the larger African House in general.
During one of our darkest periods under German colonial oppression, Namibians under the leadership of Chief Maharero fled their country and were warmly received by the citizens of this beautiful land. Many of them reside until today in Botswana.
After the end of German colonialism and the subsequent illegal occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa, Botswana, became a place of refuge for Namibian people. Your country was often the first point of entry for many Namibians, including Yours Truly.
It is because of this long history of friendship and generosity that I accepted the kind invitation of my brother, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi, to officiate at this auspicious occassion – the 45th Annual Ghanzi Show.
The Ghanzi Show started small, but overtime, has established itself as a premier event. Initially, it was merely showcasing agricultural activities. Today, it is an inclusive economic sector spectacle, as evidenced by the various items and activities that are representative of the different sectors of Botswana’s economy.
As you are aware, as a region, through the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, we have embarked upon a drive to leverage our abundant and diverse resources, especially in the agriculture and mining sectors, in order to accelerate industrialization through beneficiation and value addition.
It is in this vein that we are all pleased to notice the evolution of the Ghanzi Show, which is a reflection of our keen intent to enhance our industrial base and modernize our economies. It is also gratifying to note that my visit to Ghanzi, comes at a time when Namibia and Botswana have intensified efforts to explore new avenues for cooperation.
Industrial Shows have several economic spinoffs which contribute to the development of local economies within our countries. As is evident here in Ghanzi, the hosting of this show has resulted in the expansion of local infrastructure, particularly accommodation facilities. This is obviously an impressive and welcome development. I would therefore like to sincerely thank and congratulate the show organizers for this initiative.
It is encouraging to note that despite climate change challenges, which have resulted in severe droughts and floods in some instances, Ghanzi farmers have shown resilience to overcome these obstacles and are king a living by growing their businesses, which we are all here to witness.
At this juncture, Your Excellency, allow me to mention important areas where Namibia is collaborating closely with countries in the region, and specifically Botswana.
a) Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland share a quota to the most lucrative beef market in Norway. I am proud to mention that these three nations have worked harmoniously in pursuit of their economic interests.
b) Botswana through the Botswana Meat Commission has granted MeatCo, which is a Namibian export facility space in their globally accredited cold storage facility in Cape Town, thereby providing a ateway for Namibia’s access to the EU beef market.
Besides being known for quality cattle, Ghanzi serves as a gateway to Namibia, which hosts many tourists from Botswana, especially those destined for Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. It is also a gateway to the Okavango delta and the famous Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which are regular destinations for Namibians and tourists from the rest of the world.
The success we are witnessing at the Ghanzi Show has also been brought about by a number of infrastructure projects in our countries. The Trans-Kalahari highway facilitates the transport of people and goods between our countries. We also cooperate in wildlife management through initiatives like the Kalahari Transfrontier Park, and the Kavango, Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA).
As I conclude my remarks, I wish to paraphrase a saying, “We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor.” In other words, we can choose our friends but not our neighbours. The people of Namibia thank God that he gave us good neighbours in the people of Botswana.
We are bound together by geography and destiny.
Our people will continue to coexist for decades and centuries to come. Therefore, the responsibility lies with us to maintain and strengthen our relations in order to consolidate peace, friendship, common purpose and understanding.
Once again, I wish to thank our gracious host, His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, the people of Botswana, the Ghanzi Show Committee and the people of Ghanzi, for having invited me to officiate at the 2019 Ghanzi Show.
Let me also commend the sponsors of this event as well as the Judges, Volunteers, and exhibitors for their dedication. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the farmers for their tireless efforts in making this show a success.
Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my singular honour and privilege to declare the 2019 Ghanzi Show officially open.