In this Over a Coffee, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi and EURACTIV editor Benjamin Fox talk about his government’s handling of the pandemic and its economic and social effect, Botswana’s plans to overhaul its economy and EU relations.
Trade relations are likely to be at the heart of the delayed EU-Africa ‘strategic partnership’, but only if long-standing tensions can be resolved, including different views on the content and form of the future trade partnership.
A partnership on digital policy with the European Union would offer Africa “a tremendous amount” but would also benefit Brussels, said Thulaganyo Segokgo, Botswana’s transport and communications minister, who wants to turn the country into "a knowledge-based economy".
The EU and African Union must use a new ‘strategic partnership’ to deepen their trade and investment relations, participants agreed during a EURACTIV event focusing on what is likely to emerge from discussions between the two blocs.
With growing infrastructure development and geographically in a central location, Botswana is seen by some as the gateway to doing business in the region, and a credible entry point to access the entire continent.
If there was any doubt about the importance of a strong relationship between Africa and the European Union they have been dispelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, says Samuel Outlule, Botswana’s ambassador to the EU and Belgium.
African countries lose an estimated $88.6 billion each year, equivalent to 3.7% of the continent’s economic output, in illicit capital flight, according to the UN Economic Development in Africa Report 2020 published on Monday (28 September).
Talks on a new EU-Africa partnership have been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, conceded on Monday (21 September), as a key summit of the two sides has been postponed until 2021.
A number of countries, including Botswana, are putting pressure on the European Commission to remove them from the controversial ‘blacklists’ of tax havens and countries deemed not to be cooperating in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The long-delayed successor to the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) community appears to be approaching the finish line with a ‘99%’ chance of success this year, according to both sides.
“Botswana has not been spared by the wave of COVID-19,” says Jimmy Opelo, Permanent Secretary at Botswana’s agricultural ministry, who revealed how his country has had to change its tack on farm policymaking due to the pandemic.
The question of tax avoidance and financial information exchange remains a sore point for EU-African relations, and the European Commission’s annual lists of ‘non co-operative’ countries on tax and money laundering laws have done little to improve the situation.
Preventing the coronavirus pandemic from morphing into a food security crisis is increasingly the focus of policy-makers. “Co-ordination of trade policy is the order of the day,” says Arif Husain, chief economist of the UN's World Food Programme. “This is a global crisis which requires a global solution.”
The EU must look beyond its borders and delivers the global leadership the coronavirus crisis demands, and shape a new partnership with its closest neighbour, Africa, in the process, argue the directors of the European Think Tanks Group.
Joining the Energy Charter Treaty could cost developing countries money that is urgently needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, argue Pia Eberhardt, Cecilia Olivet and Faith Lumonya.
The G20 group of leading economies agreed on Wednesday (15 April) to suspend debt payments owed to them by some of the world's poorest countries in a bid to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
As Europe and North American countries go into self-imposed economic and social lockdown to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Africa remains the continent least affected by the virus. Still, a raft of African governments were quick to impose travel bans on airlines carrying passengers from Europe last week.
Partnerships on ten policy areas are at the heart of the EU’s plan “Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa,” launched on Monday (9 March). The paper will start a seven-month negotiating process with EU and African leaders, with a view to agreeing a partnership agenda at an EU African Union summit in October.
The European Commission will next week publish its EU-Africa ‘strategy’, which the bloc hopes will form the basis of a new ‘partnership’ with the African continent. EU Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell will launch the blueprint on Monday (9 March), kick-starting seven months of negotiation between ministers and leaders from the two continents.