Visiting South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday that it is essential for South Africa and Botswana to pay particular attention to growing the tourism sector as these will form a firm foundation for mutual economic benefits to the two neighbouring countries.
Zuma said the tourism sector had potential to create employment that the two countries need.
“We need to work with great agility to enhance historical bonds that happily exist between our country and peoples. Our people expect more from us and we therefore not fail in our collective resolve to improve their lives,” he said.
Zuma was speaking at the Summit meeting of the Second Session of the Bi-National Commission between South African and Botswana which was held in Gaborone on Thursday. The summit was preceded by the meeting of the ministers on Wednesday which resulted in a number of agreements being signed.
President Zuma told President Ian Khama that the two countries need to look closely at economic projects that had cross border dimension. He further said that he noted the large presence of South African companies in Botswana involved in various sectors and added he hoped they contributed towards economic development and diversification in Botswana.
Available figures shows that South Africa remains one of Botswana’s major trading partners with companies involved in various sectors such as housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking, and medical services.
Statistics Botswana’s International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) monthly report for July, 2014 shows that total goods traded in Botswana were valued at P4, 608.6 million, showing an increase of 26.0 percent (P950.9 million) from the revised June 2014 value of P3, 657.7 million.
A close look at imports by region and major trading partners indicate that imports for July 2014 were valued at P4, 608.6 million, with 74.0 percent (P3, 411.4 million) from South Africa and 2.3 percent (P103.7 million) from Namibia. Coming third after South Africa and Namibia is the European Union (EU) which supplied imports valued at P693.7 million, representing 15.1 percent of total imports during July 2014. Imports from the EU were mainly from Belgium with a contribution of 10.4 percent (P479.0 million) and the United Kingdom (UK) with 2.6 percent (P118.6 million) of total imports during July 2014.
On the other side, exports by region and major partner countries total exports for July 2014 were valued at P6, 090.4 million with South Africa and another neighbour, Namibia receiving 10.0 percent (P611.0 million) and 2.4 percent (P147.8 million) respectively, of total exports during the month of July 2014.