History of the U.S. and Botswana

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  2. History of the U.S. and Botswana

U.S. Assistance to Botswana 

The United States has been a major partner in Botswana’s development since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1966.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has a long history of working to address development needs in education, training, entrepreneurship, environmental management, and reproductive health. Botswana benefits along with its neighbors in the region from USAID’s Initiative for Southern Africa and USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub.  The U.S. International Board of Broadcasters operates a major Voice of America relay station in Botswana serving most of the African continent.

Botswana is one of the focus countries for PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.  PEPFAR assistance to Botswana supports sustainable, high-quality, cost-effective HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care interventions.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has undertaken many projects and assisted many organizations in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana.  HIV/AIDS-related programs also are a focus of USAID and the Peace Corps.  Together the United States and Botswana are leading the way in cutting edge approaches to addressing the epidemic, including the development of the gold standard in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission and the current 4-year, $64 million partnership between the Botswana Ministry of Health, CDC, and the Harvard School of Public Health to determine whether coordinated and strengthened community-based HIV prevention methods stop the spread of the virus better than the standard methods offered individually today.

The International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), which is jointly financed, operated and staffed by the Governments of Botswana and the United States, provides training to police and government officials from across the sub-Saharan region.  More than 8.300 law enforcement professionals from 34 member states have received training from ILEA since it began offering classes in 2001.

U.S. assistance seeks to expand connections with Botswana’s military leaders through military education and training programs.  Programs support Botswana’s interest in strengthening both domestic and regional civil-military and military-to-military relations, while improving the country’s capacity to participate meaningfully in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, including within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and throughout Africa. The United States sponsors Botswana Defense Force officers and noncommissioned officers attending courses at U.S. professional military education institutions and participating in tailored professional enhancement courses.  These courses reinforce democratic principles by teaching the role of the military in a democracy, the centrality of human rights, and the rule of law.  Botswana partners with North Carolina in the National Guard State Partnership Program.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Botswana is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The country belongs to the Southern African Customs Union, which has signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) with the United States. The TIDCA establishes a forum for consultative discussions, cooperative work, and possible agreements on a wide range of trade issues, with a special focus on customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and trade and investment promotion.

Botswana’s Membership in International Organizations 

Botswana and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.  Botswana is the SADC chair through August 2015.