Monday, July 5, 2010

Opening Remarks by H.H. the Vice President Lt. General Mompati Sebogodi Merafhe, MP for the Inauguration of Bedia Liaison Office Mumbai, India

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"


[Salutations]...Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening!

1. It is my distinct honour and privilege to be here this evening to officially inaugurate the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) Liaison Office in Mumbai. The opening of this Office will go down in the annals of history as another positive development in Botswana/India relations, which can at best be described as excellent. In a world that has become increasingly interdependent and competitive, the need to ensure solid economic relations cannot be over-emphasized.

2. More often than not, economic relations have defined the nature of many countries’ domestic and foreign policies. In this regard, Botswana’s commitment to forge strategic partnership with our friend, India has, in a way, been demonstrated by numerous exchanges at official and business levels.

3. Distinguished guests, to further strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries, BEDIA chose to open its third office in this country; the other two offices are in South Africa and United Kingdom. This undoubtedly signifies the importance Botswana attaches to our relations with India in the fields of trade and investment.

4. We are, however, concerned about the direct trade, which stands at US$30 million. I trust that the opening of this Office will, in no small measure, assist in improving the trade imbalances between our two countries. No challenge is too great. In this regard, I would like to appeal to the entrepreneurs in India to view Botswana as a destination of choice for foreign direct investment and trade, with access to a huge SADC market. I have every reason to be optimistic that we will succeed in this endeavour. This optimism emanates from the enthusiasm shown by the Indian entrepreneurs I interacted with yesterday in New Delhi. I believe the entrepreneurs of India and Botswana will treat the Office as a destination of choice for business opportunities.

5. Distinguished guests, it is our expectation as Government that the Botswana High Commission and the BEDIA Liaison Office will work together to provide the platform that will serve our two countries. As an emerging economy, we are cognizant of the benefits of promoting strong partnerships in various areas of mutual interest, in line with our national objectives and development needs.

6. Your Excellency, the High Commissioner and Mr. Nkate, I have no doubt that under your able leadership, we will take advantage of our comparative advantages to enhance our economic relations. I wish to conclude my remarks by once again encouraging the two Offices to work closely and explore new opportunities.

7. Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, I now declare the BEDIA Liaison Office in Mumbai, officially inaugurated. I thank you Pula!

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