The partnership between the European Union and Botswana is based on the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement. In a framework of respect for universal human rights, this landmark pact reaffirms the EU’s willingness to make a significant contribution to sustainable development and the gradual (regional and global) integration of African Caribbean and Pacific countries into the world economy. Botswana, independent since 1948, has progressed rapidly and by 2009 had the status of ‘Upper Middle Income’ country.
The Cotonou Agreement defines the bilateral framework for the political dialogue between Botswana and the EU. Other conventions and political commitments include the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of 2 March 2005 and its subsequent instruments, the EU-Africa Strategic Partnership, the Country Strategy Paper (CSP) and the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for the period 2008-2013. The new NIP – of the 11th EDF – for the period 2014-2020, was approved in 2014 and is in line with the national development strategy and key policy documents.
Additional dialogue and cooperation between Botswana and the EU takes place within the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Shared values and very good political relations between Botswana and the EU form the basis of the dialogue. A few EU Member States are represented bilaterally at Embassy level and work with the EU Delegation.
The future NIP, under the 11th EDF and covering the period period 2014-2020, is fully aligned with Botswana's 10th National Development Plan and Botswana's Vision 2016. Focal sectors will be: education, public sector reform and civil sector organisations. Education and the development of skills and competencies are seen as key drivers of economic growth for Botswana. The reform of public services and diversification of the economy will also be key objectives.
In addition to the EDF bilateral envelope, Botswana is eligible to benefit from other EU programmes, such as that targeting Non-State Actors, and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which focuses on the rights of vulnerable groups.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is active in providing infrastructure, water and electricity services. A few EIB initiatives are being examined for the period 2014-2020.
The EU continues to be active in supporting regional integration and cooperation. Botswana is a member of the SADC and hosts its headquarters in Gaborone. Under the 11th EDF, SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) will be covered under the same Regional Indicative Programme (RIP). Assistance will focus on three areas: i) peace, security and regional stability; ii) regional economic integration; and iii) regional natural resources management. There will be an allocation for regional infrastructure (preferably to finance joint projects), as well as for other activities affecting more than one region, such as migration, wildlife, river and aquifer management.
Botswana has actively pursued EPA negotiations within the context of SADC. After 10 years of negotiations, the EU / SADC Economic Partnership Agreement was finalised and initialled in early August 2014. The opportunities that this agreement represents will benefit the wider region Southern Africa Region.