Monday, July 5, 2010

H.H.Lt.Gen.M. Merafhe on the Occasion of the Official Lunch Hosted by Mr.Sankaranarayanan,Governor of the State of Maharashtra

source: Republic of Botswana (29/6/10) TAUTONA TIMES no 9 of 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"


1. Mr. Governor, let me behalf of my delegation thank you and the people of the State of Maharashtra for the warm and cordial welcome accorded to us. Allow me to also congratulate you on your appointment as Governor of Maharashtra earlier this year. I believe the rich experience you bring to the position will immensely benefit the people of Maharashtra and the country at large.

2. I am pleased to have been afforded the opportunity to visit Mumbai, the State of Maharashtra - the commercial capital of India. I am reliably informed that because of its immense business opportunities, of which my country is interested in exploring, the city of Mumbai has become a home to various communities and cultures. And this enriches the economy.

3. I note with satisfaction the strong and cordial bonds of friendship and fruitful relations that exist between Botswana and India. These have laid a strong foundation for even deeper economic cooperation between the two countries. India offers a number of development opportunities which Botswana as a developing economy can benefit from. We are keen to learn from your experiences in creating such a strong, formidable and vibrant economy. We are here today to exchange notes, ideas and perhaps, eventually create our own Mumbai or a little resemblance to it in Botswana, in order to improve the welfare of our people through the creation of employment and business opportunities.

4. On the other hand, Botswana seeks to diversify her economy away from dependence on minerals, especially diamonds, which account for a third of GDP, down from nearly half of GDP in the early 1990s and we have identified India as a superlative partner to ‘walk’ with us on this prospect. With regard to education, we would like to explore collaboration in the areas of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), engineering and medicine. These are critical areas as we are on the process of establishing two universities that would focus on science and technology and the other on medicine.

5. We are also interested in exploring investment opportunities in the health sector, mining, textile and manufacturing industries, given the fact that Maharashtra is India’s largest industrial State contributing 13 percent of national industrial output, with major industries including chemical and allied products, textiles, electrical machinery, metal products, jewellery, pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, steel and plastic wares, among others.

6. Mr. Governor, an analysis of trade data between Botswana and India illustrates a significantly skewed trend in favour of India. It would be good for both countries if this situation is corrected. To realise this objective Mr. Governor, Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA), a Government Parastatal with the primary mandate of luring investment into Botswana has recently set-up a Liaison Office here in Mumbai which will serve as a one-stop-reference centre for those looking to do business in, and with Botswana. I am scheduled to officially inaugurate the opening of the BEDIA Office later this evening. I hope you and Members of the Maharashtra State Government Cabinet would grace the occasion with your presence.

7. With those few words Mr. Governor, while consolidating our ties in the political, social and economic spheres, it is my fervent hope that my visit to India particularly to the State of Maharashtra could infuse a new vigour not only in trade and investment links but also enhance cultural relations between the two countries. Botswana offers the most serene locations for shooting films and we encourage the Bollywood director to take full advantage of this. May I now ask you to join me in drinking a toast to:

• The personal good health of Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the President of the Republic of India,

• The continued friendship and co-operation between our two countries and peoples, and to

• International peace and security.

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