SPEECH FOR THE SIGNING OF BILATERAL AIR SERVICE AGREEMENT (BASA) WITH BOTSWANA, ETHIOPIA AND MAURITIUS IN GABORONE, BOTSWANA

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1 REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA SPEECH FOR THE SIGNING OF BILATERAL AIR SERVICE AGREEMENT (BASA) WITH BOTSWANA, ETHIOPIA AND MAURITIUS IN GABORONE, BOTSWANA BY HONOURABLE NONOFO E. MOLEFHI M.P, MINISTER OF TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATIONS GABORONE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA 10 MAY 2012

2 Your Excellency the High Commissioner of Mauritius Mr. Mahomed I Dossa Your Excellency The high Commissioner of Botswana to Zimbabwe Ms. Gladys Kokorwe Honourable Ministers; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industries and; Labour and Home Affairs Permanent Secretaries from our respective Ministries in Botswana Delegates from Mauritius Members of Diplomatic Coops Chief Executives of all organization in Botswana Chairperson and Board Members of Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana Chief Executive Officers of Civil Aviation Authorities from Botswana Senior Government officials from Botswana Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen 1. Today we have just witnessed history in making that is Republic of Botswana signing Bilateral Air Service Agreement with Republic of Mauritius. The time taken for the fruit of this agreement has been almost two years from the time the first draft document was exchanged between our two governments. However it is pleasing to note that the time was worthwhile, because gave the fruitful results to the two governments as we are gathered to witness conclusion of our BASA. However it was worthwhile, because it gave our three governments time to thoroughly examine and reflect on the contents of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements and make the necessary adjustments that were proposed by our respective Attorney Generals and other relevant stakeholders.

3 2. The Chicago Convention signed at Chicago in the United States of America on 7 th December 1944, and as ratified by our government in It is our obligation as contracting States of International Civil Aviation Organisation to sign Bilateral Air Service Agreements and designate our airlines to service our respective cities. 3. Diplomatic relations between the Botswana and Mauritius dates back The two countries fall under the ICAO Regional Office, Eastern and Southern Africa Headquarters in Nairobi Kenya. 4. The relations between Botswana and Mauritius date back to the 1970 s when Botswana recruited technical personnel from Mauritius. Formal Diplomatic relations were established in The two countries have maintained cordial relations, fostered mainly through their common membership to both regional and international organisations such the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African

4 Union, the Commonwealth, United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). 5. The relations between the two countries have further been strengthened by the State Visit to Mauritius by His Excellency the President in His Honour Vice President Lieutenant General Mompati S. Merafhe also undertook an official visit to Mauritius in January Mr. Paul Berenger, former Prime Minister of Mauritius visited Botswana in The two countries have also cooperated in the following areas: 1. Health 2. Tourism 3. Trade 4. Tourism 5. Transport

5 7. Botswana imports a wider range of products from Mauritius, mainly rubber and electrical machinery equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles. 8. On the SADC front, it must be noted that Mauritius continues to be a strong negotiator. To this extent, Mauritius has persistently downplayed the challenges of multiple membership as they affect the SADC Regional Integration programme. In advancing the regional integration processes, the two countries with other SADC parties as well COMESA and EAC member countries are engaged to establish Tripartite Free Trade Agreement which would address the challenges of multiple membership.

6 9. I am therefore looking forward for direct flight from Mauritius to Sir Seretse Khama and viceversa. These flights will cater for the European and Asia markets connecting through your respective countries. 10. Since signing into law of the Yamoussoukro Decision by Africa s Heads of State in July 2000, Botswana has since made effective policy measures and has transform the Department of Civil Aviation into autonomous authority. 11. The signing of the BASA will create capacity demand; allow greater market access to support growth and competition in the air transport sector. 12. I hope implementation our BASA s will substantially increase air traffic movements from key targeted markets in the world which included key airport hub points that transit a large volume of passengers and goods.

7 13. Bilateral air service agreement between Botswana and Mauritius will in future embraces the market liberalisation principles/key elements of (YD) to enhance connectivity and stimulate Trade and Tourism between Botswana and Mauritius. 14. The intra-africa market has not developed at the same rate, despite the signing into law of the Yamoussoukro Decision by Africa s Heads of State in July 2000.The Yamoussoukro Decision was intended to be Africa s Open Skies Policy, with unrestricted traffic rights between City Pairs to and from countries within Africa. (Domestic Traffic Rights were excluded from this agreement). As of today, the governments of Africa have not yet implemented the Yamoussoukro Decision, although on a small scale some like-minded States apply the principles of Yamoussoukro, but not on a continental-wide basis. Implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision would have been the biggest single development in African aviation history, and apart from the benefits to the airlines and passengers, it

8 would have made a significant contribution to the national economies of African States. 15. The linking of City Pairs within Africa either from the perspective that the City Pairs are not currently operated, or they are operated with limited capacity as a consequence of Bilateral Air Service Agreements, would have eliminated the necessity to access cities from the South of the Continent to the North of the Continent via European points, if only the rights to operate and determine capacity was left to the airlines own discretion. It is common knowledge that because of capacity and bilateral constraints, certain parts of Africa, either on a North/South or East/West axis, can only be accessed via Europe. This makes no business or economic sense, and the peoples and economies of Africa suffer as a consequence, and opportunities for improved aviation, including profitability and development of tourism, cannot be effectively responded to.

9 16. By comparison, the European Union implemented an Open Skies Policy in the mid-nineties, and within a period of five years the number of City Pairs operated doubled, passengers carried doubled, air fares reduced, the number of airlines increased, and the profitability of the airlines improved significantly. There has to be a message in this for African aviation, and the sooner we understand the consequences of lost opportunities the better. It is our mandate to learn from the success of Air Mauritius and their tourism sector. 17. Your Excellency the High Commissioner, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Botswana and Mauritius are founding members of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and have vigorously pursued regional cooperation and integration in our economic, political and development endeavours for common good of our people.

10 18. I would like to thank my team, the organizers and the delegates from Mauritius for making this occasion a success. 19. I thank you. PULA

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