Why there are no McDonalds in Botswana


“A primer in international political economy.”

My cousin Meredith asked me the other day if McDonald’s had yet conquered Botswana. Botswana does have KFC and a Portuguese chain called Nando’s (America, you’re missing out on some serious peri-peri), but no McDonald’s.

How come?

In its burgers, McDonald’s regularly uses calf meat. That, however, is outlawed in Botswana, whose second largest export behind its increasingly precarious diamond supply is beef.

A McDonald’s in Botswana would therefore have to import beef from South Africa. Not impossible: Gaborone is some fifteen miles from the South African border. Still, not going to happen. The main destination for Botswana beef is Europe, which is a stickler for food safety. Were something like mad cow to occur in cows in South Africa, Europe could put a halt on Botswana beef. Botswana would then ban South African beef, and just like that you’d have a vegetarian McDonald’s.*

Batswana do not do vegetarian. Period. In fact, I think I might have gotten scurvy at some point in the last two months. No beef means no McDonald’s, and that’s not a risk the Big American Arches are willing to take. No sir.

Which brings me to another question: with all this beef floating around, why in the world aren’t there more hamburgers? They have beef out the wazoo, and I know I’ve seen hot dogs everywhere. Two plus two, Botswana.

6 Replies to “Why there are no McDonalds in Botswana”

  1. Dear Mark: Sorry for the off-topic post, but I can’t find an email address for you.My name is Ron Hudson. I am a 21 year survivor of HIV/AIDS living in North Carolina, USA. In June, 2006, I founded the International Carnival of Pozitivities (ICP), a blog carnival of and for people living with HIV/AIDS, their families, friends or caregivers. I am writing you to ask you to submit articles from your site for inclusion in the ICP. My aim is to bring all people who are affected by HIV/AIDS into the forefront again, and to bring attention to our needs in the public sphere. If you can contribute some of your work on the crisis, it will help us all. I am particularly interested in promoting a true African perspective on HIV/AIDS in Africa. We always hear the western perception of HIV/AIDS elsewhere, but rarely hear from people who are actually living with the disease. I would like to invite you to the table and ask you to please join us so that we can learn from one another and do a better job at fighting our common foe: the HIV virus.I hope you will visit the ICP homepage at http://www.internationalcarnivalofpozitivities.blogspot.com, read about my goals and how you can help and then contribute or volunteer to host. If nothing else, if you could write your contacts and encourage them to participate on my behalf, that would be wonderful. I hope to hear from you soon. Our next edition is due out in November and there is a deadline for submissions of 2 November.Safe Journeys!Ron Hudson

  2. I see this is a little old. But WoW, I am currnelty doing research into gettign a Micky D's in Botswana. Can you tell me if this info is still relevant or where can I get an update.

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