Sunday, June 21, 2009

H.E President Khama Meets with European Commission Leaders

source: Republic of Botswana (18/6/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 16 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C6) 2/6/09: H.E President Khama Meets with European Commission Leaders

H.E The President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama met today with High Representative for the Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Mr. Xavier Solana and European Commission President Mr. Jose Manuel Barosso.

Botswana and Belgium enjoys close and fruitful relations with the European Union (EU). The EU has played an important role in Botswana's national development process. With Botswana's graduation to middle income status and the withdrawal and scaling down of many bilateral support programmes, the EU is now one of Botswana's largest donors. Botswana is a signatory to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) - European Union Partnership Agreement, known as the Contonou Agreement, and it is through this that the EU offers assistance via a fund called the European Development Fund (EDF).

Over the years the EDF has been used to assist Botswana in agriculture, development and conservation of natural resources and human resource development. Some of the projects covered have included financing for the BCL mine operations, the construction of the Gaborone Technical College, Francistown Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Wildlife Conservation and Management Programme.

Botswana also benefits from preferential access to the EU market with a quota of 18,916 tonnes of boneless beef per year. The current EDF (10th) offers £ 73 million to Botswana. Of this £62 million will be used on Human Resource Development, £8 million on empowering civil society and £3 million on the Technical Cooperation Facility.

FYFI - Also please find below the following report from © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved - "EU eyes interim southern African trade pact June 4th"

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he expects to sign an interim trade pact with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Thursday.

"I look forward to Botswana's signature on the interim economic partnership agreement (EPA) on June 4," Barroso said after meeting Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama in Brussels on Tuesday.

Khama confirmed the signing of the provisional EPA to liberalise trade between Brussels and a number of SADC nations, such as Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland estimated to be worth around two billion euros.

South Africa -- the economic powerhouse of the 15-nation SADC -- will not be part of the initial deal between the two trading partners, since Pretoria has its own coveted bilateral trade agreement with the 27-nation bloc.

"It is hoped that South Africa will be part of the long-term deal in some way which will cover all SADC countries and worth billions of euros to their economies," an EU official familiar with the negotiations said.

The interim agreement had to be postponed at least three times in the last two months over South Africa's reluctance to agree a regional deal with Brussels and EU officials said Pretoria had put unnecessary pressure on its poorer neighbours to resist initialling the pact.

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