Despite the fragile global economy, the latest trade data available from Statistics Botswana shows that total exports increased by 6.5 percent in January 2012, compared to the same month in 2011 with a total of P3.1 billion.
This increase was attributed to strong export performances of the vehicle and parts which grew by 58.7 percent, other goods by 48.9 percent, Gold by 23 percent and Plastic and Plastic products by 21 percent.
Diamond, Copper Nickel, Iron Steel and related products, Machinery and Electric equipment and textiles all recorded growth rates of below 20 percent at January 2012. Exports by region indicate that the Euro Zone accounted for 68.8 percent of Botswana’s total exports as at January 2012.
“It is worth noting that these goods are subsequently re-exported like diamonds to USA, Japan and Asia,” says ministry of finance in its latest economic bulletin.
However, despite such growth in trade volumes, risks still remain at global level as projections point to a weak recovery in most advanced economies partly due to stabilisation effort in the Euro zone and positive economic prospects in Japan and USA.
The development in the latter two countries is very important for Botswana particularly since there are major markets for diamonds.
Interestingly, as at January 2012, 31.2 percent of the Botswana’s total exports were destined for African countries, Asia, and the Middle East.
“These alternative markets are an encouraging development as they provide diversity for Botswana’s commodities and reduce the reliance on a narrow export market base,” the bulletin says.
Over the months Botswana has seen exports of beef to other African countries such as Zimbabwe following a ban of the country’s beef to the European Union (EU).
In January 2012, imports on the other hand were valued at P3.9 million indicating a growth rate of 21.2 percent when compared to P3.2 million recorded in January 2011. The data also shows that 59 percent of imported commodities were from South Africa, while the remaining 41 percent were from Mozambique, the Euro Zone and Asia.