Botswana denies diplomatic row with Angola over river

APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Thursday dismissed as false reports that there is frosty relationship between Botswana and Angola over the sharing of water from the Okavango River.

According to media reports, there is a simmering “water war” between Botswana and Angola as Gaborone does not want Luanda to dam the water from the river or take any action that could affect the flow of water into Botswana because she wants it for the Okavango Delta.

The reports allege that Angola and Namibia want to use Okavango waters for irrigation and hydroelectric production, which would threaten the Okavango Delta - the mainstay of Botswana's tourism industry that accounts for more than US$2.8 billion annually.

While Dow agreed that Masisi sent an envoy to Luanda to talk about some of the above issues, she denied reports that there was a diplomatic spat over the use of Okavango waters.

"Botswana and Angola, alongside the Republic of Namibia, are closely cooperating on the Okavango Delta World Heritage Property project.

“Among others, this project will contribute towards the efforts of ensuring coordinated protection and management of the Okavango watershed," Dow said.

She slammed some local publications for peddling falsehoods that have “the potential of undermining the ongoing work on the heritage property project.”

The river flows from Angola into Botswana and then into Namibia.


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