8. The Regional and International Contexts

An effective leader should know that his/her country does not operate in isolation. It exists in a world made out of other countries, which have, complementary as well as competing interests. Within this regional and international context countries enjoy rights but also have certain responsibilities and contractual obligations/agreements to fulfil. Botswana is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Commonwealth, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the United Nations Organisation (UNO). These political organisations are useful for maintenance of regional and international peace. Botswana has to participate in them through paying her dues and through other ways such as sending her army to help in

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Mozambique and Somalia as she did in the past. A representative must know the importance of these organisations to Botswana and explain them to his/her constituents.

At economic level too, Botswana is a member of a number of economic institutions and organisations including the SADC, Southern African Customs Union Agreement (SACUA) with Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. As a member of UN Botswana is also a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), etc. These organisations and institutions bring certain benefits such as loans and grants to Botswana but also demand subscriptions from each member state. An effective representative must study these and educate his/her constituents on them.

There are other international trends, which come and go from time to time. An effective representative must keep afoot with these and inform him/herself on them. Currently, the dominant issues in international discourses/debates relate to:

  • Globalisation - the process of internationalising production, information and general way of doing things.
  • Privatisation - the process of transferring public assets and services to private interests.
  • Information technology - the effects of internet, electronic media, computers, etc. on production and communication.
  • Democracy - the concern about good governance and transparent, participatory government.

These inter-related factors need to be studied and their positive and negative effects understood.

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | Juni 1999

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