Visit of a French Parliamentary delegation in Botswana
Mr Jean-Marie Tétart and Mr Francis Hillmeyer, French Members of Parliament, President and member of the Assemblée Nationale France-Botswana Friendship group arrived on 9 May in Gaborone for a weeklong official visit at the invitation of the Hon. Gladys Korkowe, Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana.
This visit of French MPs to Botswana was the first one in 20 years.
The French delegation including the two MPs and Mrs Pascale Lauze, Senior Administrator at the French Assemblée Nationale, was received in Parliament for a fruitful business meeting with the Speaker and her delegation. They also paid a courtesy call to Kgosi Puso Gaborone, Chairman of the House of Chiefs. The different meetings organized for the French MPs allowed them to meet also with Batswana MPs, including the leader of the opposition Hon. Duma Boko.
During their stay, the French Members of Parliament engaged on bilateral relations, capacity building and potential cooperation fields with Government officials as well. In this context they had meetings with Hon. Dr Venson-Moitoi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon. Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Hon. Slumber Tsogwane, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Hon. Dorcas Makgatho, Minister of Health.
Sectors of possible decentralized cooperation initiatives were discussed with the Mayors of Gaborone and Francistown, their Worships Mr Kagiso Thutlwe and Mrs Sylvia Muzila.
The MPs also met local representatives of the civil society playing a role in the fields of health, human or civil rights advocacy and vulnerable people assistance. A visit to an ACHAP center was the occasion to better understand what is done in Botswana to address pandemics like HIV.
The Thamaga pottery center, visited with Hon Minister Mabeo, Minister of Transport and Communications, as it is in his constituency, gave a good example of excellent craftsmanship and local empowerment.
The French and Botswana business-communities were met during their stay. A visit of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) was organized to give an overview of the diamond industry. An event was also organized by the French Botswana Business Club (FBBC) and hosted by BITC whose CEO, Mr Sejoe gave the welcome remarks. This was the occasion for Mr Tétart and Mr Hillmeyer to highlight the dynamism of French companies and our common interest to develop closer links in trade and investment.