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Botswana gets P32 million facility

Publishing Date : 10 June, 2019

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Botswana will benefit over P31.7 million in credit facility from a European Union funded Trade Related Facility dispatched to resource and capacitate Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states in implementing the SADC Trade Protocol and the EU-SADC EPA.


This emerged at the launch of the facility officiated by Minister of Investment Trade & Industry (MITI) Bogolo Kenewendo in Gaborone this week. The overall objective of the SADC Trade Related Facility is to improve the participation of SADC Member States in regional and international trade in order to contribute to sustainable development in the SADC region. Specifically, the SADC Trade Related Facility aims to enhance the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade and the EPA to increase intra and inter-regional trade flows of the concerned Member States.


Kenewendo said Botswana has been allocated Euro 2.6 million (approximately P31.7 million) to implement the various trade facilitation interventions aimed at improving the ease of doing business in Botswana, over a period of two years. The project was initially planned to be completed at the end of September 2019.  “We are delighted that the project has been extended by a further two years from October 2019 to September 2021 to allow us to complete implementation of all our activities,” said Kenewendo.  


The minister noted that the facility comes at a time when Botswana intensifying efforts at transforming its economy to a more export-led and consequently diversified from mineral revenue dependence.  “This facility will complement our efforts and assist us towards onboarding more Botswana based companies into becoming significant exporters to Europe & SADC markets,” she said. Kenewendo underscored that her ministry has put in place necessary controls and monitoring mechanisms to ensure Botswana fully leverages from the initiative.


“This program is a welcome move to us because it provides both financial and technical assistance, the overall objective is for us to archive a very high level of compliance and implementation of our projects that will see to us archiving export-led economy and implementation of the two agreements that we are members of,” she said. She said the facility will further help Botswana in archiving other commitments such as Africa Free Trade Agreements.


“This program will go a long way in helping us fulfill our efforts with regard to Botswana Trade Policy and export strategy that we launched last month,” she said.  The European Union signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with SADC on 10 June 2016 with the SADC EPA Group comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). The agreement became the first regional EPA in Africa to be fully operational after Mozambique started applying the EPA in February 2018.


The EU is the Southern African Development Community EPA Group's largest trading partner, with South Africa accounting for the largest part of EU imports to and EU exports from the region.  The EPA gives asymmetric access to the partners in the SADC EPA group. They can shield sensitive products from full liberalisation and safeguards can be deployed when imports from the EU are growing too quickly.


A detailed development chapter identifies trade-related areas that can benefit from funding. The agreement also contains a chapter on sustainable development which covers social and environmental matters. The partnership guarantees access to the EU market without any duties or quotas for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini.


The SADC-EU EPA Services negotiations commenced in May/June 2008 in Brussels, where the EU submitted its Draft Text on Services for consideration by SADC EPA Group. After seeking clarification on the EU Services Text, the Participating SADC EPA States drew up their own Services Draft Text, which was exchanged with the EU in September 2011. A first joint reading of the two texts was undertaken during the Joint Technical Working Group on Services and Investment in November 2011, which revealed a high degree of convergence on most issues, especially on the underlying principle of development

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