President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana on Thursday said the southern African country continues to work tirelessly to improve exports to South Africa.
Addressing the Botswana-South Africa Business Forum Roundtable held on the occasion of the 28th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, Masisi said the country wants to correct imbalances in its economic relations with South Africa.
“The trade landscape between Botswana and South Africa remains skewed in favor of the latter and should drastically improve toward stabilization,” said Masisi.
Figures from Botswana’s statistical agency, Statistics Botswana, indicate that Botswana exported to South Africa goods worth 31 billion pula (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars) while it imported goods worth 210 billion pula between 2017 and 2021.
On average, Masisi said Botswana imports 42 billion pula while exporting only 6 billion pula worth of goods per annum.
“This needs to be reversed,” said Masisi, adding that increasing exports to South Africa will result in job creation, especially for young people while also driving the much-needed export diversification to support Botswana’s aspirations of an export-led economy.
Botswana’s exports to South Africa include diamonds, beef, soda ash while those Botswana imports include cereals, vehicles, and beverages, among others, he said.
Speaking at the same event, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said even as the two nations’ bilateral relations have grown over the years, far greater levels of trade and investment between the neighboring countries need to be seen.
President Cyril Ramaphosa (2nd L) of South Africa and President Mokgweetsi Masisi (2nd R) of Botswana attend the Botswana-South Africa Business Forum Roundtable in Gaborone, Botswana, on Aug. 4, 2022. President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana on Thursday said the southern African country continues to work tirelessly to improve exports to South Africa.