State Luncheon Hosted by Mr. Ponatshego P.H.K. Kedikilwe, Vice-President of the Republic of Botswana
Gaborone, Botswana, Friday, May 17, 2013
Thank you for giving Sharon and me such a warm welcome. We are delighted to be here in Botswana, a country with which Canada is excited to find opportunities for further collaboration.
While in your country, I hope to meet with many of its people, to discover ways in which we are already working together, and to find new avenues in which to forge partnerships.
Most importantly, I am here to show that Canada treasures its friendship with Botswana.
Whenever I travel abroad, I speak of the importance of sharing knowledge and ideas across borders and disciplines. The impact of such sharing is felt not just at the governmental level, but also at the people-to-people level.
Our two countries are succeeding in this regard. And we are achieving that success because our peoples are increasingly seizing the opportunity to interact and to learn from each other.
That is why I believe these visits abroad are so critical—they reinforce the sharing that we do so well and open the door to even more. To facilitate this, I am accompanied by a delegation of Canadians, experts in their fields and each one eager to open a dialogue with their Batswana counterparts.
I am particularly interested to see the mining operations in your country. As the number one diamond producer in the world, with Canada following at number three, there is much we can learn from each other. In particular, I am looking forward to seeing how you integrate corporate social responsibility into your business practices.
The smarter, more caring world we aspire to build demands that development go hand in hand with socially and environmentally responsible practices.
Not only is it our moral responsibility, it is also good business.
In fact, corporate social responsibility initiatives can help strengthen our bilateral relationship.
But to succeed in creating this robust bond, we must be willing to share skills, expertise, knowledge and resources with each other.
Already, we are co-operating in such areas as trade, defence and education.
But we have the potential to do so much more together.
I urge all of you to take the opportunities offered; explore new avenues of business and trade, volunteering and learning. And do so with an open mind, because we can do so much more together than we can in isolation.
Allow me to raise my glass to our continued friendship and to the health and prosperity of our peoples.