Richard Kamidza, a Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and Patrick Macrory, of the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) based in Washington, USA, conducted a needs assessment mission with stakeholders in Botswana from 27 February-2 March, regarding the trade negotiation course ACCORD and the ISLP will run from 8 – 12 May 2006.
The mission was co-ordinated by Mrs Martha Masisi, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Botswana, and aimed at identifying the specific trade negotiation training needs of stakeholders. This included meetings with high-ranking representatives from government, parastatals, private sector, civil society organisations and research institutions.
Following the various meetings and consultations, it was evident that the course in May should focus on trade negotiations principles, concepts and strategies as well as simulation exercises of real trade negotiation situations. This implies less focus on substantive lectures on international trade theories. Stakeholders also requested the inclusion of dispute settlement, rules of origin and services as well as a recognition that Botswana often negotiates as part of a bloc within a regional framework.
After the debriefing meeting with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, a tentative course curriculum was drawn up capturing the aspirations and expectations of stakeholders. The training programme acknowledges different levels of appreciating issues among the stakeholders, a development that would be addressed by circulating background materials on trade-related issues, particularly the different trade negotiation fronts that Botswana is currently involved in.
Expectations are high that the course will assist in defining and identifying Botswana’s strengths and weaknesses in trade negotiations, a development that will assist the country in the on-going trade negotiations fronts.