Botswana and Germany maintain good bilateral relations based on mutual respect and consensus on international issues. Federal Minister Gerd Müller’s visit to Botswana in August 2018 and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s state visit in November 2018 reflect Germany’s continuing interest in the country. Botswana has had an embassy in Berlin since autumn 2013.
Botswana’s President Seretse Khama Ian Khama paid an official visit to Germany in February 2012, meeting Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the then Federal President, Christian Wulff. President Khama visited Germany again in March 2017 to attend the international travel trade show ITB Berlin. During his trip, he held talks with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal President Joachim Gauck.
The most recent trip by a delegation from the Bundestag Parliamentary Friendship Group for Relations with the Southern African States took place in June 2015. The Federal Chancellor’s Personal Representative for Africa, Günter Nooke, represented Germany at the celebrations held in late September 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Botswana’s independence. Shortly before that, in August 2016, the then Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Prof. Maria Böhmer, visited the country.
A delegation from the Bundestag Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy visited Botswana in February 2019. The trip focused mainly on bilateral cooperation on vocational training, the outlook for Botswana’s economic diversification and the prospects for renewable energy use.
Trade between Germany and Botswana is modest, as is German direct investment in the country. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, trade between the two countries was worth approximately 56.2 million US dollars in 2017, with German exports to Botswana totalling 52.3 million US dollars. Meat products are Botswana’s main export to Germany, while Germany’s main exports to Botswana are machinery and electrical goods, motor vehicles, foodstuffs, metal goods, chemical products and wood and paper products. It should be remembered, however, that Botswana gets most of its imports from South Africa, including many products made by German companies. These imports of German products from South Africa do not appear in the bilateral trade statistics.
Owing to Botswana’s relatively small market and the availability of reasonably priced imports from South Africa, there is little foreign investment in the country. Nevertheless, Botswana could also be of interest to German business and industry because of its domestic stability, its geographical location in the region and its sound finances. The German-Botswana investment protection and promotion agreement entered into force in August 2007.
In March 2017, Botswana was the very first southern African country to be the official partner country of the international travel trade show ITB Berlin.
Due to Botswana’s impressive economic development and its classification as an upper middle-income country, bilateral financial cooperation was terminated in 1992. Bilateral technical cooperation ended in 2004.
A separate agreement of March 2004 provides for the continuation of bilateral development cooperation with a focus on vocational training, with co-financing from the Botswana Government and the Botswana Chamber of Mines covering 70 percent of the overall costs. The programme was extended at the end of 2017 with Germany pledging a further three million euros. Botswana also participates in the extensive EU and German development cooperation with the Southern African Development Community (SADC).