Nigeria and the Republic of Botswana will soon commence discussions on the possibility of signing a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) that will enable airlines from both nations to operate direct flights into each other’s cities, our reporter gathered.
A source familiar with the development between the two countries told our reporter in Lagos that the Botswana government is desirous of expanding its diplomatic relations with Nigeria and recently appointed a Nigerian and Vice President, Corporate and Government Relations of Olam International, Mr. Ade Adefeko, as Botswana’s Honourary Consul to Nigeria in Lagos in order to promote the country’s trade and business opportunities to Nigerians.
The source, who craves anonymity, said plans are underway for a meeting between the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and a delegation from Botswana to cement the BASA deal in a matter of weeks.
Checks showed that no airline operates direct flights from Nigeria to Gaborone, the capital city of the tiny Southern Africa country as travellers have to transit through either South Africa or Addis Ababa, a voyage many consider stressful and cumbersome, hence the need to establish direct flights from cities in Nigeria.
According to the source, “it has been realized that many Nigerians are eager to invest and set up businesses in Botswana across various categories of industries and opportunities abound in aviation, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, animal husbandry, light packaging etc”. Our source said “the aim of these interest groups is to address the challenges of connecting both countries as quickly as possible before all these objectives can come to fruition”.
The official said “the government wants to bring citizens of Botswana to experience the rich and diverse cultures of Nigeria and also take Nigerians to Botswana to experience nature at its best.” The source said , it was all about bilateral mutual cooperation in exploiting the comparative advantages present in the two countries.
He added that “Botswana had a lot to offer in terms of its agrarian advancement even though at the same time some consider it to be non-agrarian due its desert landscape. The source said there is not much that we can grow and a lot of food comes from South Africa.