The British High Commissioner to Botswana, Her Excellency Ms Katy Ransome, met with Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, on 29th January 2020. The purpose of the meeting was for the High Commissioner to bid farewell to Her Excellency Dr. Tax, as her tour of duty to Botswana comes to an end.
Her Excellency Ms. Ransome informed the Executive Secretary that her tour of duty as High Commissioner to Botswana was come to an end, and that she would be leaving the country on 17 February 2020. She further informed the Executive Secretary that her successor will be coming to Botswana at the end of February 2020.
Her Excellency Ms Ransome briefed the Executive Secretary that the United Kingdom was withdrawing from the European Union as of 1 February 2020, and this will be followed by a one-year transitional period. She, however, assured the Executive Secretary that the United Kingdom will continue to cooperate with SADC in the post-Brexit epoch.
Her Excellency Ms Ransome said that the British Government has, among other things, put aside the sum of £200 million for the Southern Africa Regional Trade and Connectivity Programme (2020 – 2027). She highlighted that the Programme is envisaged to facilitate trade, and contribute to climate-smart, resilient and inclusive growth across the region.
Her Excellency Dr. Tax thanked Her Excellency Ms. Ransome for the excellent working relationship which have led to positive contribution in the facilitation of cooperation between SADC and the British Government during her tenure in Botswana. She also wished her well in her future endeavours.
Her Excellency Dr. Tax further congratulated the United Kingdom for the successful elections which were held on 12 December 2019, and applauded the British Government for finalizing the Brexit process. She wished the British people well as they pursue development initiatives outside of the European Union.
Her Excellency Dr. Tax reiterated SADC's commitment to continue partnering with the United Kingdom. In this respect, she mentioned that SADC will continue assessing the implications of Brexit on the on-going programmes and projects, and engage the United Kingdom as may be required.
Her Excellency Dr. Tax was accompanied by Acting Director of Industrial Development and Trade, Mr. Calicious Tutalife; Acting Director of Policy Planning and Resource Mobilisation, Mr. Joseph Kamwenyi; and Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Executive Secretary, Mr. Maxwell Mkumba.