As countries open their economies to mitigate the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Botswana’s overall export bill increased by more than 100 percent in September, this publication has established.
According to the International Merchandise Trade Statistics Digest of September 2020 released by Statistics Botswana recently, the country’s overall exports amounted to P6.8 billion, which is an increase of more than 100 percent (P3. 6 billion) on the revised August 2020 value of P3.1 billion.
The report attributed the increase in Botswana’s export bill to the rise in exports of diamonds from P2.6 billion to P6.3 billion. Machinery and Electrical Equipment came second in the export bill, accounting for 2.5 percent (P172.8 million).
The report also shows that for the period under review, Botswana’s exports were mostly absorbed by Asia with a market share of 54.7 percent. “The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India received exports representing 26.4 percent and 22.2 percent of Botswana’s exports respectively,” it says. “Exports to India were mainly attributable to diamonds while all exports to the UAE were diamonds. Belgium received 27.5 percent of total exports during the month, all attributable to diamonds.”
During the period under review, 94.5 percent (P6,452.8 million) of total exports were transported by air while road transport accounted for 5.4 percent (P368.3 million).
On the other hand, Botswana’s imports stood at P8 billion, an increase of 39.5 percent on the revised August 2020 value of P5.7 billion. Statistics Botswana says the increase in diamond imports of over 100 percent (P2, 114.1 million) had a significant contribution to the overall increase in total imports. Diamonds were followed by Food, Beverages and Tobacco with 11.3 percent (P908.1 million).
South Africa was the major source of imports into Botswana at 46.7 percent. Food, Beverages & Tobacco contributed 22.6 percent (P849.7 million) while Fuel, Machinery, Electrical Equipment, Chemicals and Rubber Products accounted for 14.0 percent (P525.0 million), 13.4 percent (P503.3 million) and 13.3 percent (P500.7 million) of total imports to the country respectively. The UAE and Belgium accounted for 21.3 percent and 14.8 percent respectively to total imports during the period under review.
Total imports amounting to P3, 539.6 million, representing 44.0 percent, were transported into the country by road. “Transportation of imports by air and rail accounted for 34.4 percent (P2, 765.3 million) and 21.6 percent (P 1,732.2 million) respectively,” reads the report by Statistics Botswana.