Botswana Country Profile
The overall goal of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) is to increase international competitiveness, intra-regional trade and food security in the Southern Africa region. With a team of long term regional and international experts based in Gaborone, Botswana, SATH delivers targeted technical assistance to go-ernments, the private sector and civil society organizations in support of advancing regional integration and increasing the trade capacity of selected value chains within Southern Africa.
While the majority of SATH’s activities are regional in nature, some activities specifically target Botswana as a direct beneficiary. Through various regional, national and cross-cutting initiatives, SATH is working with Botswana to reduce the costs of doing business, improve the investment climate, develop and implement a National Single Window and facilitate customs connectivity. Ongoing and future activities will have a particular focus on trade facilitation in Botswana.
SATH will be piloting a Regional Customs Connectivity program between Botswana and Namibia in July 2012 based on a Microsoft Cloud Computing platform. The pilot will provide connectivity and data exchange between Namibia Customs and the Botswana Unified Revenue Service, eliminating the need for manual data entry, reducing opportunities for fraud and lowering the cost and time required for border clearance.
SATH is working with Botswana stakeholders on the potential development of a National Single Window. Botswana is currently ranked 150 out of 183 countries on the World Bank’s Trading Across Borders Index. A Single Electronic Window, which connects all stakeholders in a single electronic data information exchange platform, has the potential to significantly increase this ranking and substantially reduce time and costs required for trade. Botswana is committed to moving forward with the Single Window program and in May 2012, SATH will work with Botswana to identify legal and regulatory gaps to be addressed in moving forward with the Single Window Initiative.
An Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program and policy frame-work for risk management focuses customs resources on high risk transac-tions and minimizes the need for customs and other agency interventions on compliant/low-risk operators. Policy frameworks for risk management and AEOs as well as an action plan for implementation were completed for Bot-swana and now await government approval. Additionally, SATH completed a comprehensive review of Botswana’s Customs and Excise Act to allow for the implementation of the AEO program. Following approval, SATH will commence the training of relevant officials and follow up with an attachment program for Botswana officials at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
Corridor Management Institutions (CMIs) are able to effectively monitor corridor performance and address Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) along the corridor in a proactive manner. SATH successfully established the CMIs for the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) with public-private partnerships. As part of SATH’s focal Coast-to-Coast Corridor (C2C), SATH will continue to work with the CMIs for the development of trade facilitation programming including One Stop Border Posts and Coordinated Border Management.
Botswana “Doing Business” Committees: Under the auspices of the National Strategy Office (NSO), Botswana has established a national program to improve the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey. SATH advisors have worked with the NSO and the Doing Business Committee on a range of issues. In addition to the Single Window initiative which was introduced through the Doing Business Committee, SATH advisors have provided technical analysis which has led to significant changes and liberalization to the Trade Act and immigration procedures.
Review of Botswana Levies and Infant Industry Protection: SATH is currently working with the Government of Botswana and the private sector to develop an economic analysis of existing levies and infant industry protection in Botswana, both of which have repeatedly been cited as NTBs for Botswana in the context of the SADC Protocol on Trade. These studies will highlight the conformity of such measures to existing agreements and will, most importantly, highlight their costs and/or benefits for Botswana. The results of the study on wheat flour levies will be presented to Botswana’s National Trade Committee in late May 2012.
Botswana Business Code of Ethics: SATH advisors, working with the US Department of Commerce, supported Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) to develop a voluntary Business Ethics Code of Conduct for the private sector. In 2011, the conference launching the code showcased the benefits of business ethics and addressed corporate concerns about the impact of adopting the Code on their “bottom line”.
Support to SADC Trade in Services Negotiations: SADC is currently proceeding with Trade in Services negotia-tions and is offering targeted technical support for the tourism negotiations, which are among the first of six priority areas for negotiation which will commence in 2012. SATH will work with the Ministry of Trade in Botswana and private sector tourism stakeholders to develop private sector positions on export market opportunities and constraints in the sector.
NAMPO Harvest Day: SATH works with local service providers in Botswana to promote participation at the NAMPO Agricultural Harvest Show in South Africa. Botswana producers’ attendance of the biggest agricultural trade show in Southern Africa alongside counterparts from neighboring countries promotes trade and technology interchange within the region.
Increasing the Capacity for Clean Energy Regulation and Planning: Increasing the Capacity for Clean Energy Regulation and Planning: SATH is collaborating with regional energy organizations to increase capacity of regional regulators and energy policy makers to enhance the development of clean energy in the SADC region. Regulators and policy makers from Botswana participate regularly in SATH’s clean energy training activities throughout the region. SATH is currently working with Botswana’s Department of Energy Affairs to develop a consultancy on Feed in Tariffs, which will allow Independent Power Producers in clean energy to supply energy to the national electricity grid.
Clean Energy Investment Promotion: As part of our work on clean energy investment promotion, SATH is working with three solar energy companies in Botswana, in addition to other regional clean energy producers, to participate in the Solar Power International Conference in September 2012. The aim of this mission is to expose the companies to international best practice in solar energy as well as provide access to US technology. This mission will also provide opportunities for possible Joint Venture Partnerships with United States (US) companies interested in investing in Africa.
Textile and Apparel Investment Promotion: While garment production in Botswana has declined in recent years, SATH is currently completing an opportunity analysis for the garment and textile sector in Botswana which will then be used to help attract additional value chain investments. Efforts will be focused on inviting identified foreign firms to visit Botswana during the Botswana Global Expo in November 2012. SATH’s partner will be the Botswana Export De-velopment and Investment Authority (BEDIA). Botswana firms will also benefit from SATH’s regional activities in this sector, including participation in the “SOURCE Africa 2013” trade show, which will bring together regional producers and both regional and international buyers.
Effective Implementation of Regional Trade Agreements: As a member of both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Botswana benefits from SATH’s work to ensure the effective implementation of regional trade agreements. SATH is currently engaged in a study with the SACU Secretariat to identify constraints to expanded SACU exports to the US under the Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA).
Additionally, SATH has worked with Botswana on a variety of training initiatives including Rules of Origin training for the Department of International Trade, training on NTBs for the National Monitoring Committee and participation in Botswana’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum Conference in April 2012.