Whilst foreign markets such as South Africa hold immense potential for small businesses in Botswana, only a small percentage of businesses are capitalising on this opportunity.
South Africa Trade Director Wilson O’Neill told exporters breakfast meeting Monday morning that their findings reveal that only 2 percent of Botswana small businesses are exporting, resulting in South African companies making the most of those opportunities.
Although Statistics Botswana International Merchandise Trade Statistics monthly digest shows that South Africa is still Botswana’s major trading partner with the balance of trade heavily on the South African side accounting for almost 45 percent of total imports, O’Neill says there are numerous opportunities that local businesses can explore for export purposes. “Leather products, arts and crafts, paper products, chemicals and building materials are some sectors/sub-sectors that small business can capitalise on,” he says.
O’Neill revealed that South African trucks were passing through Botswana carrying exports to Zimbabwe, when Botswana companies could more easily access that market, given the country’s greater proximity to the neighbouring country.
Amongst other things, he said the cost of doing business in Botswana was quite high and there is need to review export procedures and ensure they are streamlined to enhance export capacity.
“He said small businesses should not focus on just exporting to neighbouring countries like South Africa but also consider countries all over the world in order to achieve fast and sustainable growth,” he said adding that businesses that sell internationally are 9 percent less likely to go out of business.
He ended by saying the value of the export opportunity to the Botswana economy is huge and there is a lot that needs to be done for the country to fulfil its potential as a trading nation.