France and Botswana
Bilateral relations between France and Botswana are founded on shared democratic values and are trustful and friendly. It was boosted by the opening of an embassy in Gaborone in July 2000 at the same time that the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community 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 (which was previously followed from Brussels) symbolising the strength of the ties between the two countries.
President Mogae’s official visit to France on 20 and 21 March 2008 and President Khama’s visit in June 2015 have helped to deepen political relations. The Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ms Ségolène Royal also visited Botswana in August 2015 as part of the preparation of COP21. Lastly, on 22 February 2018, the Botswanan Minister of Defence, Mr Shaw Kghati, visited France and was received by the Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly.
While economic relations are statistically low and direct investment stock remains modest, some 20 French companies are established in Bostwana 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.
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is preparing to help Botswana diversify its economy ($15 million loan currently being given to the Botswana Development Corporation).
Updated: April 2019