DP Gachagua holds talks with Botswana President Eric Masisi in Gaborone

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua held a bilateral meeting with Botswana President  Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi in Gaborone Monday morning in which he made a strong welfare case for Kenyans living and working in that country.

Gachagua who is in the country on a four-day official visit was particularly keen on having Masisi intervene to ensure that Kenyans in the Southern Africa Country are enabled to get work permits without too many inhibitions as is the case.

Masisi said this when hosted Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua for bilateral talks at the Office of the President in Gaborone on April 24 ahead of the second edition of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Africa Summit in Botswana.

Gachagua had requested President Masisi to relook into the issue of renewal of residence and work permits for Kenyans in the various parts of Botswana. This was one of the concerns raised when the DP met Kenyans living in Botswana on Saturday evening.

“The people of Botswana and Kenya have a rich history together. When Botswana was struggling, Kenyans came in thousands and joined your people in getting the economy on the right path. Some have been here for 25-30 years. We request that you allow those with existing permits to renew them,” he said.

Kenyans in Botswana are about 3,000, mainly professionals working as engineers, surveyors, medical doctors, education, banking, mining, among others. This is a drop from over 10,000 a few years ago.

The Deputy President said, who was in the company of his Spouse Dorcas Rigathi, the Principal Secretary for Diaspora Affairs Roseline Njogu and Kenya’s High Commissioner Mohamed Shidiye, said based on the cordial relations between the two countries, there is a need to deepen trade.

“The volumes of trade are relatively low and we urge that with such engagements we should increase it,” the Deputy President said.

He added that Nairobi, being an economic hub in the region, there lies many potential opportunities for collaboration.

Gachagua invited the President to visit Kenya together with a delegation of business people to see the available opportunities.

Some of the trade frameworks, which the two countries can leverage include the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement and Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement among others, which the two countries have ratified. In addition, the two countries have a collaboration framework under the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation signed in 2001. Under the JPCC, meetings are organized to explore trade and other matters of interest between the two States.

“We are ready to take part in the JPCC in June this year. We are up to a good start. We have agreed with President William Ruto to have bilateral talks on the sidelines of the UN Summit,” President Masisi said.

With between 2.5 and 2.8 million heads of cattle, Botswana is among the top producers of beef in Africa and fifth globally. Among other animal husbandry practices, there are opportunities for Kenyans to learn from,  Gachagua said on Sunday, when he visited the Senn Foods Ranch Notwane on the outskirts of Gaborone.

President Masisi said his country is ready to work with the government of Kenya in the agriculture sector, especially in promoting beef production.

The Deputy President is in Botswana, on a four-day working tour. He will represent President William Ruto at the second edition of Forbes 30 under 30 Africa Summit, April 24-25, 2023. He will speak and take part in interactive discussions at the   Summit, which brings together the Creme De La Creme in youth entrepreneurship, Tech, Health/Science, Creatives, Sports, Arts, among other categories.

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