Botswana’s role as chair of SADC from 2015 to 2016 has reinvigorated debate in the country over the need for a structured foreign policy framework.
Currently, there is no national consensus about Botswana’s national interests and how, in achieving them, the country behaves towards others, politically, socially, economically and militarily. The country’s foreign diplomacy has evolved over the decades since independence from survivalism to promoting strong regional alliances.
Past administrations have adopted a consultative approach to their less democratic neighbours, preferring private meetings to public admonishments. But personalities have a strong influence over policy, and President Ian Khama’s tough, outspoken and pragmatic approach is often misunderstood and criticised.
About the author
Dimpho Motsamai joined the ISS in 2010 as a researcher in the Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis division. Her work focuses on SADC’s peace and security policies; and conflict vulnerability dynamics in Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique. Dimpho studied at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg and holds a master’s degree in international relations. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the Wits School of Governance.