Friends of the United Kingdom in Botswana, among them government officials, diplomats, individuals, NGOs and entrepreneurs gathered at the Westminster House to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 93rd birthday yesterday (Tuesday).
In her welcome remarks, British High Commissioner to Botswana Katherine Ransome said that in her three and half years in Botswana, she found that a consistent theme has been that of the importance of people and personal relationships to drive forward the broader UK/Botswana bilateral relationship.
“I have talked about the role women have played, particularly amazing women such as Dr.Gaositwe Chiepe and Eleanor Emery in the early days after independence, and more recently, over the last year, equally amazing women such as Gogontlejang Phaladi and Captain Kgomotso Phatsima, our two Commonwealth points of light as well as the ongoing fantastic engagement of our Chevening alumni,” she said.
Ransome said the personal links are reflected in their theme, acknowledging President Mokgweetsi Masisi for recently declaring 2018/19 a drought year.
“This reminds us all of the impact of climate change, and the vulnerability of countries like Botswana to even small changes in temperatures or rainfall patterns. “So our theme this year is Green is Great, reflecting both the UK’s commitment to tackling climate change and own commitment here”, she said.
She explained that at the international level, the UK will, at the request of the UN Secretary-General, lead on the Resilience and Adaptation strand at the UN Climate Summit in September this year.
For his part, acting minister of International Affairs and Cooperation Nonofo Molefhi said Botswana remains thankful for the support and protection accorded by Her Majesty’s government against aggression then, which paved the way for the Republic of Botswana. Among others he cited assistance in the form of capital development, scholarships and technical assistance.