The monthly figures on the International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) for July 2020 released recently by Statistics Botswana (SB) shows that Botswana‘s export income grew by 100%.
The figures by the national statistics custodian points out that overall exports amounted to P2 164.8 million, a rise of more than 100% as equated to P1, 101.7 million recorded in June 2020.
Dr Burton Mguni’s led entity further said the imports stood at P5 939.9 million, showing a decrease of 18.8% from the revised June 2020 value of P7 312.2 million.
“During the period under review, Botswana’s exports were mostly absorbed by the EU with a market share of 57.0%, with Belgium receiving 56.2 percent of total exports,” Statistics Botswana said in a report.
The most exported commodities from Botswana were diamonds, machinery and electrical equipment at 79.1% and 6.0% of total exports while South Africa was major source of imports.
Credit Manager at BancABC and economist, Pako Moshaga, said the issue of Botswana being an import-led country is quite an old song.
“Recent statistics are no different from trade disproportion levels we saw say 10 years ago. As per the July 2020 Statistics Botswana figures, the amount spent on imports was more than double the revenue made from exports, “Moshaga said giving an economic insights on figures.
According to Moshaga, it is important for Botswana as a nation to have a healthy balance of trade position as a positive balance of trade spills over into a pleasing balance of payments position.
This, he said, can be established through tilting the current trading scales through having higher export levels, adding that as it stands diamonds are still Botswana’s flagship export product.
“As at July 2020, they accounted for 79.1% of exports. One way to normalise the scales is to produce the top imported products locally. Fuel is such a product that we can tap into,” he said.
He said the manufacturing sector is a multi-faceted industry that can also lead to higher exports because Botswana imports a lot from South Africa which has a robust manufacturing sector.
“The nation should look to manufacturing of products that are in high demand regionally. Food stuff and other domestic use products are great areas. We see this in how food and beverages are amongst the top 3 imported items as per the July 2020 statistics,” he highlighted.
Statistics Botswana revealed that South Africa was the major source of imports into Botswana with a contribution of 53.3 percent to the country’s total imports during period under review.
“Namibia, Belgium and Canada followed with contributions of 21.6 percent, 4.1 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. With regard to regional groupings, SACU was the major source of imports with a contribution of 75.4 percent. Asia and the EU accounted for 11.7 percent and 6.0 percent respectively,” SB underscored.