The monthly figures on the International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) for July 2020 released recently by Statistics Botswana (SB) shows that Botswana‘s export income grew by 100%.
The figures by the national statistics custodian indicate that overall exports amounted to P2 164.8 million, a 100+% hike on the P1,101.7 million recorded in June 2020. Statistics Botswana further said imports stood at P5,939.9 million, an 18.8% drop from the revised June 2020 value of P7,312.2 million.
“During the period under review, Botswana’s exports were mostly absorbed by the EU with a market share of 57.0%, with Belgium receiving 56.2% of the total exports,” Statistics Botswana said in a report.
The most exported commodities from Botswana were diamonds, machinery and electrical equipment at 79.1% and 6.0% of the total exports while South Africa was the major source of imports.
Economist and Credit Manager at BancABC, Pako Moshaga said of the figures;
“Recent statistics are no different from trade disproportion levels we saw, say 10 years ago. As per the July 2020 Statistics Botswana figures, the amount spent on imports was more than double the revenue made from exports, “Moshaga.
Moshaga stressed it is important for Botswana to have a healthy balance of trade position as a positive balance of trade spills over into a positive balance of payments position. This, he said, can be established through tilting the current trading scales by having higher export levels.
“As at July 2020, diamonds accounted for 79.1% of exports. One way to normalise the scales is to produce the top imported products locally. Fuel is one product that we can tap into,” he said.
He said the manufacturing sector is a multi-faceted industry that can also lead to higher exports because Botswana imports a lot from South Africa, which has a robust manufacturing sector.
“The nation should look to manufacturing products that are in high demand regionally. Foodstuff and other domestic products are great areas. This is demonstrated by the fact that food and beverages are in the top 3 imported items as per the July 2020 statistics,” he highlighted.
Statistics Botswana revealed that during the period under review, at 53.3%, most of Botswana’s imports came from South Africa.
“Namibia, Belgium and Canada followed with contributions of 21.6%, 4.1% and 4% respectively. Regionally, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU)was the major source of imports with a contribution of 75.4%. Asia and the EU accounted for 11.7% and 6% respectively,” the report said.