The government says that the poor performance of the regional economies, precisely that of South Africa, could impact negatively on the agricultural landscape of the southern domestic economy.
South Africa was recently downgraded to sub-investment grade, a development that economic experts say would affect the southern African region.
On Thursday, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Solomon Sekwakwa admitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that if South Africa was not doing well, Botswana was very much likely not to do likewise in trade.
“We also try to balance our exchange rate to try and cushion this and what is prime is to my consciousness as PS when advising government,” said Sekwakwa.
Official statistics shows that the domestic economy grew by 4.3 percent in 2016, recovering from a negative growth of 1.7 percent registered in 2015. The increased growth was said to be mainly due to the positive performance of non-mining sectors, except Agriculture.
Sekwakwa stated that as at end of December 2016, the level of foreign exchange reserves amounted to P79.1 billion, a decrease of 9.5 percent from P84.9 billion December 2015. He added that the reserves were an equivalent of 17 months of import cover of goods and services.
MP for Selibe Phikwe West, Thapelo Keorapetse, asked Sekwakwa about the economy as well as ways to stimulate it. Sekwakwa expressed satisfactory with regard to the ESP project progress, adding that they were lagging behind.
Sekwakwa said the country continued to face development challenges of unemployment, poverty and lack of implementation capacity. He added that government recently articulated its policies and strategies in addressing some of these challenges in the NDP 11, which was approved by Parliament in December 2016.
“The Ministry will continue to ensure that there is macro-economic stability, which is a requisite for growth and economic diversification. This is in recognition of the importance of growth and economic diversification to employment creation, poverty reduction and improved income distribution,” he said.
Sekwakwa added that the ministry continued to work with relevant departments to improve on the capacity to implement projects within government.
“MFED is promoting increased private sector participation in the delivery of non-core services, with the aim of improving overall efficiency,” said Sekwakwa.