President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, says the South Africa-Botswana business roundtable aims to identify and address impediments that constrain trade and investment relations between the two countries.
Masisi says trade relations between South Africa and Botswana have a long history but have largely been skewed in favour of South Africa.
He says the roundtable provides an opportunity for counterparts, in government and the private sector, to engage in initiatives that will benefit both countries.
Masisi was addressing delegates at the South Africa and Botswana Business Roundtable currently under way in Gaborone, Botswana.
“According to our Statistics office, Botswana has over these 28 years, experienced negative trade balances with South Africa, the negative trade balances runs into the negative of billions of Pula for each year. Between 2017 and 2021, Botswana exported goods worth 31 billion Pula, while it imported goods worth 200 billion Pula. This means that on average we are importing 42 billion and exporting 6 billion Pula worth of goods per annum.”
The SA-Botswana roundtable proceedings:
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa says the trade and investment ties between South Africa and Botswana have grown stronger over the years.
He says trade and bilateral relations between the two countries have laid a firm basis for even greater economic cooperation and integration into the future.
The President says he is encouraged by the work that has already begun to align plans of both countries towards a common Southern African Customs Union (SACU) plan of action to operationalise the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Work is also under way at a number of areas and sub-sectors of our economies, for instance in leather and leather products, fresh produce, meat, and meat products textiles clothing and cosmetics, and essential oils. These sectors present opportunities for the development of regional value chains, not only across our region but beyond.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s opening address at the roundtable: