Botswana has launched its new five-year export strategy targeted at dynamic and sustainable economic growth, with the help of the Commonwealth.
The strategy is expected to increase the country’s exports, diversify its products, and create at least three thousand new jobs, fast-tracking achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At a launch ceremony last week, Botswana’s Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, acknowledged the Commonwealth’s role in supporting its long-term national development plan (NDP11) and its blueprint to achieve high income status by 2036, known as Vision 2036.
Ms Kenewendo said: “Exports from priority sectors grew from P31.8 Billion in 2010 to P80.5 Billion (roughly £5.6 billion) in 2016. However, a closer look shows that diamonds accounted for 88% for the 2016 export figures.
"This points to our need to ensure that our export products are diversified.”
She outlined seven priority sectors in the new strategy, covering the period 2019 to 2024: leather and leather products, garments and textiles, arts and crafts, jewellery and semi-precious stones, meat and meat products, light manufacturing, and indigenous products.
According to Commonwealth acting Head of Trade Competitiveness, Sujeevan Perera, a key chapter is also dedicated to building e-commerce and the digital economy.
He said: “E-commerce has been predicted to be the new driver of economic growth for developing countries - online platforms cut the costs of trade, while opening new markets.
“The government of Botswana has made strides in improving the country’s ICT infrastructure and there are several online platforms already operational in the country which can be further supported to boost domestic and regional trade.”
The 2019-2024 export strategy is based on a review of the 2010-2016 framework, drawing out lessons and fine-tuning actions to align with national priorities.