Botswana’s foreign policy is predicated on multilateralism

*Lapologang Caesar Lekoa
Tuesday, 17 April 2018
Lapologang Caesar Lekoa Lapologang Caesar Lekoa

Botswana’s relative success in securing development support at this critical stage from, inter alia, international development and finance institutions, consistent with the country’s foreign policy pillar of development, represented a great achievement on the part of its multilateral economic diplomacy.

The country continues to engage the world, at multilateral diplomacy level, on many important

Botswana’s foreign policy is predicated on multilateralism

In this last part, Lapologang Caesar Lekoa* discusses how multilateral diplomacy has dovetailed into national interest to guarantee our national security; mobilise much- needed external development support; secure markets in other countries to sustain our development; and to have our voice heard by more people around the world to advance our interests.

 issues affecting national interest at home.

Other multilateralism driven foreign policy achievements include Botswana’s successful ap- peal to the UN for reparations against apartheid South Africa (resolution S/Res/568) and (resolu-

tion S/Res/572), following the regime’s unpro- voked attacks on Botswana in 1985 (although the pariah state never paid, this was indeed a significant diplomatic victory); duty free access for Botswana’s exports to the European market under

the current multilateral Cotonou Agreement, as well as its successor Economic Partnership Agreements; substantial international sup- port for the country’s anti- AIDS campaign following UN endorsement of Botswana’s ap- peal; the successful protection of Botswana’s diamond market abroad as a result of the country’s membership of the multilaterally negotiated Kimberly Process initiative, and many other achievements too numerous to mention here.

Botswana has not been a passive recipient of international goodwill. She has contributed and continues to contribute, through multi- lateral diplomacy, to regional and interna- tional causes, at the core of her foreign policy.

As a member of various international organisations, Botswana is able to share with other member states, her own experiences on issues such as democracy and the rule of law, thereby acting as a force -albeit modest - of reform still needed in other parts of the world.

As a strong advocate for human rights, Bo- tswana’s membership of various international bodies (UN Human Rights Council, Interna- tional Criminal Court etc), not only helps to promote and safeguard basic freedoms, but also strengthens the voice for political reform and liberalisation at international level.

Through her participation in various re- gional and international conflict resolution efforts through mechanisms such as SADC, Commonwealth, and AU (the country is cur- rently a member of the AU Peace and Security Council), including through her former Presi- dents, Botswana contributes to international peace and security. Botswana has acted, and will continue to act, in concert with other countries to explore global solutions - where a multilateral approach is better placed to yield meaningful results - to global challenges such as climate change, international terrorism and health pandemics without borders.

The most important contribution of all, perhaps, is the one identified by the first President in 1970. He said, “We see our de- velopment as a viable, united and non-racial democracy as a contribution - the only one we can make - towards progress, towards major- ity rule and self-determination throughout Southern Africa”. Botswana continues to make this modest contribution in the 21st Century, on an expanded contemporary international agenda.


Botswana has employed multilateralism as a foreign policy tool to help guarantee her national security; to mobilise much needed external development support; to secure mar- kets in other countries to sustain her develop- ment; to have her voice heard by more people around the world to advance her interests.

The country has also used multilateral- ism to contribute towards shaping a better world - a liberal democratic world order, not necessarily perfect, but the only one, at least for now, that offers hope for many.

As a small country, Botswana will need multilateralism to tame globalisation and create opportunities for sustainable develop- ment. She will need internationalism to help attenuate interstate conflict and advocate for a more stable, peaceful and united world – one that she needs to help protect and sustain her chosen way of life.

L. C. Lekoa © copyright reserved

The author is Botswana’s Ambassador to Australia but he writes in his personal capacity


Last modified on Tuesday, 17 April 2018 08:58

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