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New Zealand’s bilateral relationship with Botswana is warm. Most contact takes place in multilateral fora, particularly the Commonwealth, where the two countries have enjoyed a constructive and friendly relationship. Botswana is one of New Zealand’s key interlocutors in Africa on Commonwealth matters, human rights issues and, in particular, the situation in Zimbabwe.
In recent years, Botswana has worked actively to strengthen its ties with New Zealand through its High Commission in Canberra. Botswana views New Zealand as an example of a small country that has implemented successfully wide ranging public sector reforms, and has sent a number of delegations to New Zealand to study the reform process. There has also been particular interest from Botswana in sending students to New Zealand universities at graduate level. Bilateral trade remains minimal.
There are opportunities to grow the bilateral relationship in a range of areas, including agriculture (dairy development), public service management, vocational education and commercial governance – Botswana recently adopted a slightly modified version of the NZ Companies Act.New Zealand gratefully received support from Botswana following the 2010/11 Christchurch earthquakes. The Botswanan President sent several condolence messages, and the country donated US$50,000 (NZ$63,400) to the Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund in 2011
Both the New Zealand Government and individuals are aiding ongoing development in Botswana in areas such as business and agriculture. The New Zealand High Commission in Pretoria, cross accredited to Botswana, also supports small projects under the Head of Mission Fund from time to time. Students from Botswana are eligible to apply for New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships.
Official name - Republic of Botswana
Land Area - 581,730 sq km
Population - 2.01 million (UN estimate, 2010)
Capital City - Gaborone
Language - Setswana and English
Religion - Animism, Christianity, Islam, Bahá’í
Currency - Pula (P) = 100 thebe
Exchange rate - NZ$1 = 6.00 Pula; US$1 = 7.14 Pula (March 2012)
Political system - Unitary Republic
National government - The President, his appointed vice-president, and cabinet (reshuffled in January 2007). The President is chosen by the National Assembly.
National legislature - National Assembly consisting of 57 members elected by universal suffrage, the President, the Attorney-General and four members appointed by the President. A 15-member House of Chiefs advises on tribal matters.
Last election - October 2009
Next election due - October 2014
Head of State - Seretse Khama Ian Khama
Vice President: Mompati Merafhe
Main Political Parties - Botswana Democratic Party (BDP; the ruling party); Botswana National Front (BNF); Botswana Congress Party (BCP); Botswana People’s Party (BPP); Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
GDP - US$17.20 billion
Real GDP growth - 7.0%
Exports - US$6.03 billion
Imports - US$6.21 billion
Current account balance - US$ -477 million
Inflation - 9.2%
Gross external debt - US$2.73 billion
NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$0.07 million
Main Exports - various electronics, printed material, pharmaceuticals etc.
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$0.00 million
December: Minister of Education, Hon Steve Maharey
January: Minister of Foreign affairs and Trade, Hon Phil Goff
October: Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani
July: Minister of Agriculture, Hon Johnie Swartz
July: Minister of Education, Kgeledi George Kgoroba
The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Botswana [external link].