France and Botswana
Based on shared democratic values, the bilateral relationship is confident and friendly. It was boosted by the opening of an embassy in Gaborone in July 2000, when the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) moved to the city. The head of the French diplomatic mission is also France’s Special Representative to the SADC. In March 2019, Botswana opened a fully functioning embassy in Paris (France was previously covered from Brussels) symbolizing the strength of the ties between the two countries.
The French community in Botswana: on 31 December 2017, the number of registered French people was 96 (including 34 with dual citizenship).
Botswanan community in France: 26 registered in 2016.
On 22 February 2018, Botswanan Minister of Defence Shaw Kghati visited France and was received by French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly.
The official visit in France on 20 and 21 March 2008 of President Mogae, and that of President Khama in June 2015, helped develop our political relationship. French Minister of the Ecology, Sustainable and Development Ségolène Royal also visited Botswana in August 2015 during preparations of COP 21.
Ambassador of France to Botswana: Laurence Beau
Ambassador of Botswana to France: Mustaq Moorad
While economic relations are statistically low and direct investment stock remains modest, some 20 French companies are established in Botswana which is one of the most prosperous on the African continent. Opportunities are arising in the energy, infrastructure, agrifood and tourism sectors.
Bilateral cultural cooperation has increased significantly since 2015 with Botswana’s decision to universally roll-out teaching of French in public secondary schools.
The Alliance Française branch in Gaborone is also an important asset for developing the use of French and promoting French culture. The framework agreement on education, signed on 23 June 2015 during the visit to France by former President Khama, stepped up the level of our cooperation with regard to teaching French.
Preservation of biodiversity is also a priority for Botswana and is a field which could see future partnerships with France in the fight against poaching.
As regards our defence relationship and the support of our arms contracts, France stand by Botswana every time that Botswana’s authorities decide to participate in initiatives relating to the African peace and security architecture, and peacekeeping operations in particular. Operational and technical support for the armed forces (BDF) is being pursued, along with arms cooperation, in order to help modernize the BDF and train its officers (teaching of the French language, spots in the War School).
As regards security, France pursues aviation cooperation and various training actions, organizes missions of Botswanan authorities on the sidelines of Milipol and Eurostary trade shows, and has provided the Botswana Police Service s(BPS) with a strategy to fight cybercrime and French courses in liaison with the Alliance Française of Gaberone, as could be seen by the recent visit by Botswana’s Defence Minister Thomas Mmusia at the International Paris Air Show Le Bourget in 2019.
Updated: January 2020