Amb Op-ed – The U.S. – Botswana Alliance

‘American Alliances Are Our Greatest Asset’

By Ambassador Craig L. Cloud

On February 5, President Joseph Biden spoke to the 34th African Union Summit leadership, stating that the United States stands ready as a partner in solidarity, support, and mutual respect.  These important words were reinforced from his first day in office by rejoining the World Health Organization and renewing U.S. engagement in the Paris Agreement; nothing is more vital to Africa and the world than prioritizing global health and protecting our environment.  He has committed to protecting the human rights of all people: women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and people of every ethnic background.  We witnessed this promise put into practice in the historic moment when Kamala Harris was sworn in as the United States’ first woman, Asian, and Black American Vice President.

It is on the strength of these values that the United States has built its enduring partnership with Botswana – Africa’s longest standing democracy.  Our shared values will remain at the heart of our strong bilateral relationship.  Through consecutive administrations, we have worked together as committed partners to promote shared health, security, and prosperity.

In Botswana, that means continuing a legacy of financial and technical assistance totaling more than 12 billion pula to combat HIV/AIDS.  Our commitment towards fighting COVID-19 is just as strong and builds upon decades of investment in laboratories, clinics, and technical capacity.  Our partnerships in renewable energy, security cooperation, and entrepreneurship strengthen and diversify the local economy: we are developing a solar power project that will position Botswana and Namibia as the largest producers and exporters of solar power in the region; at the International Law Enforcement Academy, the United States and Botswana jointly train law enforcement professionals from across the globe; the U.S. military and Botswana Defense Forces engage in regular training and exchange programs to strengthen border security and anti-poaching; and we work closely with local entrepreneurs to get their products to U.S. markets.

As strong as the U.S.–Botswana partnership is, we have work to do in order to forge our shared vision of a brighter future.  In the words of President Biden, American alliances are our greatest asset.  As the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana, I look forward to continuing my support for one of the most successful partnerships in Africa and making our alliance stronger than ever before.