BY RICHARD CHIDZA
ZIMBABWE and Botswana yesterday confirmed that they had agreed on a one billion pula (US$95m) credit facility, double the initial amount, targeted at the private sector after days of confusion.
Responding to questions from journalists at the end of the inaugural Bi-National Commission (BNC) yesterday, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said details of the deal would be thrashed out in due course.
“We have increased the credit facility from 500 million pula to one billion pula. The details will be completed later,” Masisi said.
Zimbabwean officials early this week announced the country had received a one billion pula credit line facility plus a US$600 million bailout package from its neighbour, which was denied by Botswana on the eve of the talks between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Masisi.
However, a communique read out by Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo was silent on the $600 million loan, prompting questions from the media.
Privately, officials, however, said the diamond-backed loan was part of the initial discussions, but was quickly dropped.
Masisi suggested that the two new leaders wanted to break away from the frosty relations that characterised dealings between the two countries under former leaders, Ian Khama and Robert Mugabe.
The forthright Khama repeatedly called Mugabe out on his human rights excesses and constantly clashed with the former Zimbabwean leader.
Masisi yesterday said the two countries could achieve greater things with greater unity and develop better relations than before.
“There is no problem that can elude us if we are united in purpose. It is my hope that going forward this BNC should see increased participation of our private sector on the margins of our formal meetings,” he said.
“Let me, therefore, reaffirm my personal commitment and that of my government to continue working with you and your government to further enhance the fruitful co-operation that exists and never will we go back to the past where it was no so.”