Botswana flag Botswana: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Botswana

Foreign Trade in Figures

Botswana has made significant efforts to open up to international trade and strengthen its integration in the region, despite its geographical position. According to World Bank, international trade accounted for 76% of the country's GDP in 2020. Diamonds represent 88.2% of the country’s total exports, while other significant exports included insulated electric conductors (1.9%), gold (1.1%), live bovine animals (0.9%), and carbonates (0.9%). Botswana primarily imports diamonds (30.7%), petroleum oils (9.6%), electrical energy (3%), motor vehicles (2.3%), and tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles (2.3%). The country is heavily dependent on electricity imports, as it only produces 60% of its needs domestically. Botswana’s trade balance is highly dependent on global prices and demand for diamonds.

The United Arab Emirates, Belgium, India, South Africa, and Singapore are the country’s leading exports destination. South Africa, Belgium, Namibia, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada are its main suppliers. The country is a member of several regional and foreign trade organisations like the WTO, the SACU (South African Customs Union), and the SADC (Southern African Development Community), and has signed trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. Botswana is among the freest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the last available data from the WTO, Botswana exported USD 4,262 million worth of goods in 2020, while its goods imports reached USD 6,516 million. As for services, the country imported USD 679 million and exported USD 486 million. As a result, the country's overall trade balance equalled USD 2,4 million in 2020. Overall, imports increased 4.3% compared to the previous year, while exports decreased 21.4%, mainly due to the negative impacts of the pandemic on global diamond trade, which significantly impacted Botswana's exports.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,3216,3126,5646,5168,359
Exports of Goods (million USD) 5,9046,5735,2374,2627,206
Imports of Services (million USD) 8181,1111,0416791,127
Exports of Services (million USD) 947924882486468

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 96.875.679.575.776.0
Trade Balance (million USD) 1,476813487-1,086n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 1,308651218-1,275n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -5.4-21.111.811.74.3
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 13.1-16.27.2-16.1-21.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 44.235.939.241.946.4
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 52.639.740.333.829.7

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 7.32.65.12.42.1
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.5-2.34.71.52.4

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU)

Member of Southern African Development Committee (SADC)

Member of African Union

Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Member of the African Economic Community

Member of the Cotonou Agreement

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
United Arab Emirates 25.6%
Belgium 23.5%
India 17.3%
South Africa 9.1%
Israel 6.0%
See More Countries 18.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
South Africa 54.8%
Belgium 14.2%
United Arab Emirates 4.8%
India 4.8%
Namibia 4.7%
See More Countries 16.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

7.5 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 90.1%
Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire,...Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire, cable "incl. coaxial cable" and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 1.5%
Copper ores and concentratesCopper ores and concentrates 1.5%
Live bovine animalsLive bovine animals 1.1%
Carbonates; peroxocarbonates "percarbonates";...Carbonates; peroxocarbonates "percarbonates"; commercial ammonium carbonate containing ammonium carbamate 0.6%
See More Products 5.2%
8.5 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 35.1%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 9.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.0%
Electrical energyElectrical energy 1.7%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.7%
See More Products 49.9%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: November 2022

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