In line with its 2019 election manifesto promises, particularly ‘Multilateralism, Economic Diplomacy and Partnerships’, the governing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led by His Excellency, President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi continues to break new ground in improving the country’s international standing and advancing Batswana lives for the better.
Guided by its slogan, “Advancing Together Towards a More Inclusive Economy” and consistent with the party’s level of international influence, the BDP seems well on track to “create greater interaction with global entities such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), United Nations Organisation, the African Development Bank, World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and Brazil Russia-India China and South Africa (BRICS); aimed at protecting Botswana’s interest by taking a strong stand and maintaining a firm foreign policy posture.
Just recently and following the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) which elected H.E Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of Comoros, as the new Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2023, Republic of Botswana, (Southern Region) guided by His Excellency, President Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi was voted as the Second Vice Chair of the Union.
The event took place on 18 February 2023 during the official opening of the Thirty-Sixth (36th) Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, holding at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The composition of the new bureau of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union for 2023 as presented by the Dean of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) is as follows:
- Chairperson of the African Union (AU) – H.E Azali Assoumani Union of Comoros (East African region)
- First Vice Chair of the Union – (Northern Region), consultations are still ongoing;
- Second Vice Chair of the Union – Republic of Botswana, (Southern Region);
- Third Vice Chair of the Union – Republic of Burundi, (Central Region); and
- Rapporteur – Republic of Senegal – (West African region).
“The BDP-led government’s foreign policy is influenced by a realization that Botswana is a landlocked, semi-arid, middle-income country that wishes for cordial relations with its neighbours and other international actors.
“Consequent to this understanding, Botswana’s foreign policy under the BDP leadership will be shaped by the need to safeguard Botswana’s interests and to achieve these goals by interacting with other countries and with non-state actors,” BDP Chairman of Communications and International Relations Sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse said, quoting the party’s 2019 BDP Election Manifesto.
Kentse said consequent to Botswana assuming the AU Second Vice Chair position, the BDP-led government has been making great strides in improving Botswana’s international standing, dating back as far as 2021, when the country assumed Chair of the Kimberly Process Chairmanship; the Inclusion of Botswana into the World Economic Forum Vision 2030, as well as the International Appointment of Dr. Matshediso Moeti as World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa for a second term running.
“There’s just so much that Botswana continues to do and achieve on the international front, because of President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi’s steadfastness in putting both Motswana and country first. Another example includes Botswana’s assumption of the Presidency of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2022 Session courtesy of Collen Vixen Kelapile,” added Kentse.
In addition, Kentse said Botswana has also ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement – the world’s largest free trade area developed under the auspices of the African Union (AU) to enable the free flow of goods and services across the continent.
“You’d recall that President Masisi signed onto the AfCFTA in 2019 making Botswana the 51st of 54 African nations to agree in principle to the continental trade deal. Since then, Botswana has been hammering out the modalities of the deal to ratify it, negotiating as a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).”
President Masisi deposited the instruments for ratification of the AfCFTA at AU, and following Botswana’s submission, all SACU Member States have now ratified the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA, SACU said in a statement released today (Tuesday).
“The implementation of the AfCFTA is one of the priority areas in the SACU Strategic plan. Therefore, SACU is also committed to ensuring that the African Union theme of the year 2023, ‘The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’ is realised,” Executive Secretary of SACU, Thabo David Khasipe.