President Ian Khama’s association with Conservation International has in the past benefited Botswana. The office of the President says the country continues to benefit from President Khama’s private association with the organization.
The Press Secretary to the President says contrary to belief that Khama’s attendance of some meetings was personal and did not benefit the country, the opposite is true as such interactions have led to the country receiving awards like the Destination Stewardship Award of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in May this year.
“Frankly, there is nothing incredible with His Excellency attending significant international civil society gatherings such as his attendance at the Conservation International and the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation. Both organizations are very strong and influential lobby groups whose global networking can and have been beneficial to Botswana. The recent tourism award to Botswana is a good example of the type of benefits that we derive from outreach with important groups like Conservation International,” says Sipho Madisa.
The government spent P1.1 million on Khama’s recent official visit to Cuba, including the unofficial visit to Chicago to attend a board meeting of Conservation International. Madisa said the distinction between official and unofficial visit by the President does not arise wherever he goes as he represents Botswana.
“The costs of the entire trip were covered by the Government of Botswana, though the Cuban government obviously also extended itself in its hosting of the delegation as per diplomatic norms,” said Madisa.
Khama was accompanied by his Senior Private Secretary and the Chief of Protocol when he travelled to the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation and Conservation International.