- Botswana's private sector will be invited to help in shaping the country's foreign policy, the minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation revealed.
Phandu Skelemani made the disclosure at the 17th biennial heads of mission conference dinner in the capital Gaborone. He said his ministry is in the process of concluding the redrafting of a policy document that will include stakeholders, in particular, the private sector.
Botswana has established diplomatic relations with 130 countries worldwide, although it has 19 resident diplomatic missions.
Mr. Skelemani believed that both government and the private sector need to get together and reshape the southern African country's foreign policy to bring about desired political goodwill, economic prosperity and social development for the citizens.
"It is desirable that both at government and the private sector levels there should be collective ownership of Botswana's external engagements in as far as creating opportunities and wealth for our people is concerned," he said, stressing the need for both sectors to speak with a much stronger voice.
He described the country as a "well-known, respected and credible player" in the international arena. Botswana continues to pride herself with the sustenance of her political ideals, Mr. Skelemani said.
"It follows, therefore, that even though our capacity to influence world events may still be limited, that should not be a reason for us to shy-away from adopting a consistent approach to world affairs, an approach, which is clear in our principles and consistent in their application."
He said the failure in becoming forthright in the advocacy of human rights, democracy, good governance, transparency, accountability and peaceful resolution of conflict has given a bad image to Africa as well as continuously hamper its socio-economic development.
"As a government that is committed to uplifting the standard-of-living of its people," he said, "Botswana cannot at the same time promote relations with those who brutalise their fellow citizens. The matter is fair, simple and straight forward. We wish for others what we wish for ourselves."
"On the part of government, we will do our best and continue to exhort our representatives abroad to promote our national interests of assisting with the foreign direct investment (FDI), promotion of trade and tourism, marketing of Botswana products and identifying opportunities for Botswana, including offers of training for youth to advance their learning skills," he said.
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