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Botswana's performance under AGOA

Published date:
Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Botswana generated US$ 252 million (about P1.6 billion) from exports to the United States through the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) last year.

Brett Johnson, the AGOA Trade and Business Manager in Botswana said this at a workshop of the Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) on joint ventures held at Thapama Lodge in Francistown last Thursday.

He said from the total amount the textile and apparel sector generated made in its exports to the US US$28 million.

AGOA also facilitated US$3.2 billion (about P19.9 billion) in non-oil exports from sub-Saharan Africa to the US.

Through AGOA, countries in the sub-Saharan Africa have duty free access to the US market. Johnson said through the Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub, which is funded by USAID, southern Africa will keep attracting new investors from the US and elsewhere.

"Recently, I had an inquiry from two prominent businesses that are interested in investing here, which means Botswana is on the radar," he said. However, Johnson said Batswana entrepreneurs must strive to improve the standard and quality of their goods. "The US market is very competitive and demanding; you are competing with producers from all over the world who also want to penetrate the American market."

He said countries in Southern Africa face cost, capacity and time challenges in transporting their products. The Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Alexander Babedi, echoed Johnson's sentiments regarding challenges facing Batswana.

Officially opening the workshop on behalf of his Minister, Neo Moroka, Babedi said the challenge is to provide different goods and services that are competitive in the global markets.

"This calls for high levels of productivity at every level of our economy in the private sector and the government."

Babedi said companies have been inwardly focused, looking to government as the main consumer of their goods and services, a tendency he described as unsustainable. In addition to AGOA, Botswana goods also have duty free access to SACU markets and the EU through the Cotonou Agreement. "This has unfortunately been very limited because Botswana companies lack the necessary capacity and technical know-how to supply a huge market such as the US".

Babedi said it is imperative that local companies strive to form strategic alliances with those companies from various parts of the world that have experience in producing and exporting goods into the global markets. "The immediate advantages of this is that our companies would benefit from skills and technology transfer as well as the capacity to gain access to global markets." With the advent of trade liberalisation, characterised by reduction and ultimate elimination of tariffs, as well as removal of non-tariff barriers, global competition is going to intensify.

"It is therefore absolutely vital that our companies position themselves strategically to face this competition," Babedi said. The BEMA workshop was held under the theme "Export Competitiveness Through Strategic Alliances: A case For Joint Ventures".

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Botswana’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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