TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Botswana's textile exports decline sharply

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Source: The Botswana Gazette

In the past year, Botswana’s textile exports decline sharply by 21.8%, whilst imports grew by 13.3%, despite Botswana industry being the main beneficiary to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The Textile and Clothing Sector has contributed immensely to increased clothing and apparel exports to the US during the period 2001-2008. As a result, Botswana’s exports to the United States of America under AGOA rose from about US $ 2.2million in 2001 to about US $ 16.6million in 2008. But today, only one company, Carapparel, is currently exporting garments to the US, out of the initial thirteen companies.

The textile and clothing industry is a strategic non-extractive industry in Botswana as it remains the largest employer in the manufacturing sector, with over 80% women in the textile sector. Nevertheless, the textile and clothing industry just like other sectors faces many challenges that requires Government interventions. Hence, the government recently introducing the stimulus package as a rescue plan to the industry.

According to the Central Statistics Offices’ balance of trade services, ,textile producers continued to experience difficulties, with exports declining from P1.4 billion in 2009 to P1.1 billion in 2010.

Imports for 2010 are estimated at P32.9 billion, an increase of 13.3 percent from P28.6 billion in 2009. This reflects growth across most product categories.Meanwhile, this years’ 10th AGOA annual forum was held in Lusaka, Zambia recently, they agreed on some recommendations as measures to improve its utilisation by member countries for future prospects.

This was confirmed by Kediretswe Pule, Director of Public Relations at Ministry of Trade and Industry, who revealed that the forum “had agreed, amongst other recommendations, that AGOA member states should have one voice that will convince the United States to extend AGOA beyond 2015 and for the third-country fabric provision to run concurrently with AGOA after its expiration in 2012.”

AGOA member States are expected to urge the United States to prioritise capacity building, especially in infrastructure development, sanitary and phyto-sanitary laboratories and private sector support to enable African countries to take advantage of the market access AGOA offers.

AGOA member States urged the US to consider a joint monitoring and evaluation mechanism, including the production of joint reports at the end of every AGOA Ministerial Forum.

The US was also asked to relax its restrictive rules of origin in order to promote diversification of exports into the country and also support regional integration through regional value chains. The meeting recommended that US expand the AGOA products list in order to further help diversify non-oil exports.AGOA was enacted in by the US Congress in 2000 as a trade preference programme, mainly aimed at stimulating economic growth and help integrate Africa into the global economy. The AGOA Act ensures market access for products from Africa by granting them duty-free quota-free entry into the US market.

By Tendani Portia Nkani

“ 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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