Friday, July 1, 2022

Botswana to make the most of Canada’s Governor General’s state visit

The visit of the Governor General of Canada to Botswana next week is expected to present an opportunity for introspection in such areas as governance and democracy as these will form the cornerstones of his message to Ghana, Botswana and South Africa in the coming ten days.

According to a release from Ottawa in Canada, that country’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, His Excellency, The Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon Johnston whilst here, will, among other things, highlight the importance of topical issues like the rule of law, Democracy, freedom of expression and human rights.

The Governor General, who, according to Canada’s statutes, is the Ceremonial Head of State and represents her Majesty the Queen of Britain in that country, is scheduled to come to Botswana on the 16th-19th May 2013, after completing a trip to Ghana set for 13th to 16th May.

“Sharon and I are looking forward to our State visits to Ghana, Botswana and South Africa to reinforce Canada’s continued engagement in Africa,” said Johnston. “My meetings with government officials and civil society will provide an opportunity to underscore Canada’s interests in further strengthening its commercial and education ties with all three countries, as well as to highlight good governance, the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression and human rights.”

In the same vein, mention was made of the importance of reinforcing the existing partnerships between Canada and the three African States he will be travelling to and that assessing opportunities to create new ones would be essential for greater cooperation between Canadians and Africans.

On the Business domain, while in Botswana, Johnston is expected to highlight the strong trade and business relations the two countries have in the extractive industry as well as giving prominence to the issue of corporate social responsibility in that particular area while in a visit to Botswana’s Karowe Diamond Mine.

Karowe is owned by a Company called Lucara Diamond Corporation based in Vancouver, Canada.
Yet another crucial part of Canada’s Royal representative’s visit will consist of touring Botswana’s own epitome of the anti-HIV struggle, Tebelopele Testing and Counselling Centre, where acknowledgement will be made of his country’ support for the fight against HIV and AIDS, and he is also scheduled to have a view of Stepping Stones International.

Stepping Stones International is an after-school community outreach program serving orphaned and vulnerable adolescents and their caregivers in Mochudi.

In addition, Johnston will meet with Canadian volunteers from World University Service of Canada, a key education partner for Canada in Botswana.

Further, on account of strong defence relations developed by the two countries through Canada’s Department of National Defence’s (DND) Military Training and Cooperation Program many senior members of the Botswana Defence Force have been trained in Canada, and Botswana on the hand is set to deliver Canadian-designed peacekeeping programs to other countries in the region.

Thus, on that basis as Commander-in-chief of Canada, the Governor General will according to information passed to Sunday Standard, reinforce the continued assistance offered by DND in his address to staff college students and army staff at the Botswana Defence Force Staff College.
Upon conclusion of his trip to Botswana on the 19th, Johnston will then proceed to neighbouring South Africa on the 20th -22 May.

It has not possible to establish whether there will be any bilateral agreements to be signed during the visit of the Canadian Head of State.

The Governor General will be joined by parliamentarians and an accompanying delegation of Canadians with a view to enhancing people-to-people ties with their African counterparts in all the three countries he will be visiting.

“These exchanges will further develop the wide-ranging and multi-faceted relationship with Africa, a major economic player and priority market for Canada, and to provide greater visibility for bilateral co-operation initiatives in various sectors, particularly in strategies promoting innovation, economic development and education in all three countries,” read part of the statement from the Office of the President, also posted on the web.

Visits abroad by a governor general are seen as a very important element in Canada’s relations with other countries as they contribute to broadening bilateral relations and exchanges among peoples, according to the release from Harper’s office.


Read this week's paper