- Botswana will receive a short-term mining fellowship to study in Australia as part of assisting the country build capacity in the resources sector, which is the backbone to the local economy.
This has emerged at the end of the meeting between the Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and the Botswana leadership.
The meeting which was part of the Southern African tour by Australia, to lobby support from the region, also saw the country committing more aid for the development of the Batswana people.
“Australia will commit $500,000 in fire management assistance to support training to Botswana provided by the NSW Rural Fire Service. This will extend the current fire management assistance programme by two years. Australia will also provide the AGWEST programme a further $250,000 to build capacity in quarantine and plant bio-security in Botswana. This will extend the food security programme by another two years also,” mentioned Mr Smith also adding that currently there are about 500 students from Botswana studying in Australia, including 270 on scholarships from the Botswana Government.
This year, he also said, Australia has increased the number of scholarships to Botswana to 10, focusing on HIV/AIDS, agriculture, natural resources and governance.
Mr Smith said Australia and Botswana enjoy warm and substantive relations and stated that during his meeting at different political levels in the country, discussions were further on ways of boosting bilateral cooperation, including in areas such as education and fire management.
He said President Ian Khama's visit, scheduled for March this year, will be a further demonstration of the excellent partnership between the two countries.
While in Botswana, Mr Smith also discussed the situation in Zimbabwe and possible ways in which Australia and Botswana might cooperate to deliver humanitarian and capacity-building assistance in Zimbabwe.
He also mentioned that from his visit to the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) - the first Australian Foreign Minister to do so - Australia will continue to explore ways to enhance the relationship with the regional organisations in Africa, like the African Union and SADC.
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