Botswana’s Exports Surge

  • Exports surged by 25.7% to P7.6bn in March
  • Diamonds in pivotal at 34.8% to P6.5bn
  • Mainly destined for the UAE, India and Hong Kong
  • Total imports recorded a minor dip at P6.9bn


Botswana’s total exports experienced a significant boost in March 2023 as the economy continued to demonstrate impressive post-COVID resilience.

The main driver of this remarkable growth was the diamond industry, propelling the nation’s export figures to new heights.

According to the latest official data released by Statistics Botswana, total exports surged by an impressive 25.7 percent, reaching P7.6 billion in March 2023 to P1.5 billion more than the revised February 2023 figure of P6.1 billion.

Diamonds followed by copper

Diamonds played a pivotal role in which they accounted for 34.8 percent of the overall growth, soaring from a revised value of P4.8 billion in February to a staggering P6.5 billion in March.

Diamonds were trailed by copper, which contributed 5.8 percent (P442.9 million) to the total export value.

The lucrative Asian market emerged as the primary destination for Botswana’s goods, receiving a substantial 61.6 percent of total exports.

“These exports were mainly destined for the UAE, India and Hong Kong at 27.7 percent, 11.6 percent and 6.7 percent of total exports, respectively,” reads the International Merchandise Trade Statistics released by Statistics Botswana.

EU a significant export role

“Diamonds were the major commodity group exported to Asia, at 91.1 percent, followed by Copper at 8.6 percent.”

The European Union (EU) also played a significant role in Botswana’s export market, absorbing P1.7 billion worth of goods, which translated into 23.0 percent of the country’s total exports during March 2023.

Belgium emerged as the primary recipient within the EU, receiving nearly all the exports destined for the trading bloc and accounting for 22.9 percent of Botswana’s total exports. Notably, diamonds dominated the export flow to the EU, constituting nearly 100 percent of the goods shipped.


In terms of regional trade, exports to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) amounted to P831.6 million, representing 10.9 percent of total exports.

“Diamonds and Machinery & Electrical Equipment were the major commodity groups exported to the Customs Union, accounting for 35.6 percent (P296.4 million) and 24.8 percent (P205.8 million) of total exports to the regional bloc respectively,” Statistics Botswana says.

“South Africa was the main recipient of SACU destined exports at 10.5 percent (P804.0 million).”

On the import front, Botswana witnessed a marginal decrease of less than one percent in the value of total imports during March 2023.

Minor dip in diamond imports

Total imports were recorded at P6.9375 billion, reflecting a decrease of P6.2 million from the revised February 2023 figure of P6.9437 billion. This decrease was mainly attributed to a decline in the importation of diamonds, which experienced a significant drop of 46.4 percent (P609.7 million).

Despite the minor dip, several commodity groups showcased increased import figures, including fuel, food, beverages & tobacco, machinery & electrical equipment, chemicals & rubber products, and diamonds.

The top three items within these groups contributed 21.8 percent, 17.5 percent, and 14.8 percent, respectively, to the total import value. Chemicals & rubber products and diamonds followed closely behind, making contributions of 11.3 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the SACU region was the top supplier at 75.1 percent (P5.2 billion) to the total imports. “Within the SACU region, South Africa and Namibia were Botswana’s main sources of imports during the reporting period,” Statistics Botswana notes.

“The countries supplied 69.9 percent (P4.8 billion) and 4.5 percent (P314.1 million) of Botswana’s total imports in that order.”