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A peek into Uganda-Botswana collaboration against foot and mouth disease 

(Last Updated On: 21 February 2024)

On February 19, 2024, a landmark meeting took place at State House, Entebbe, where  President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni hosted Mr. Andrew Madeswi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana  Vaccine Institute, along with a team of esteemed scientists. 

The gathering is a progressive stride toward tackling the challenge of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that has long troubled  Uganda’s livestock sector. A partnership is on the cusp of fruition, following insightful bilateral discussions between President Museveni and his Botswana counterpart President Dr.  Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi earlier this January. 

Engagement in vaccine development is at the core of this bilateral effort, with Botswana offering its expertise in animal vaccines. 

“The advancements made by the scientists are encouraging, and represent a nexus of Agriculture, minerals, and energy sectors that stand to unlock economic transformation opportunities,” President Museveni said, expressing his support for the initiative. 

The visit by Botswana’s scientific delegation, aptly coordinated by Uganda’s Non-resident High  Commissioner to Botswana, Amb. Paul Amoru comes after actionable plans were laid down during the G77+ China Third South Summit.

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A delegation from Botswana at State House Entebbe a few days ago. Courtesy photo.

According to a statement by Uganda High Commission in Pretoria, sampling efforts have commenced with the  Botswana Vaccine Institute leading the charge to innovate an FMD vaccine, reflective of the needs endemic to the East African region. 

“The significance of this meeting is underscored by the robust presence of officials from both countries including Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of  Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation. 

“Hon. Frank Tumwebaze  accentuated the collaborative work between Botswana Vaccine Institute and Uganda’s National  Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), aiming to create a vaccine that resonates with the  local conditions.”

In terms of trade, Uganda is looking forward to exporting its high-quality milk derived from non-FMD-affected areas, which would foster a bilateral trade relationship centred around high standards and mutual gain. 

Additionally, President Museveni has rolled out the welcome mat for  Botswana’s foray into the Ugandan agricultural landscape, especially in the production of animal feed from Uganda’s maize surplus. 

Mr. Madeswi provided a promising timeline, with the data analysis and subsequent reporting primed for completion by March 29, 2024. Mr. Mokganedi Mokopasetso, Technical Director of the  Botswana Vaccine Institute, reviewed the sampling strategies that have spanned various  Ugandan districts, lending credibility to the success of this initial phase. 

The bilateral engagement further strengthens the bilateral meeting resolutions such as  Uganda pondering imports of drug therapeutics and facilitating Botswana’s animal-feed production ventures on its soil.

In speeding up the collaboration, President Museveni has directed the Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs to head a comprehensive cooperation program to capture the full spectrum of this burgeoning partnership. 

Looking ahead,  a reciprocal visit from Uganda to Botswana is in the planning stages, involving critical officials from both governments to sustain the momentum of this groundbreaking agricultural and economic partnership. 

“I am humbled to witness and take part in the historic collaboration between Uganda and Botswana in tackling foot and mouth disease.

“This partnership is a testament to the shared commitment of President Kaguta Museveni and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi for agricultural progress and economic development,” says Amb. Paul Amoru, Uganda’s High Commissioner to South Africa, with accreditations to Botswana, and Namibia, among other countries. 

 

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