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Jump in July exports as diamond markets slowly recover


In the month of July 2020, Botswana’s exports jumped by over 100% following depressed trade activity in June occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figures published by Statistics Botswana in the International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month of July this week signals a significant upswing in trade activity bolstered by the opening up of rough diamond market.

The monthly digest by the national data body reveals that Botswana’s overall exports amounted to P2.16 billion, a rise of more than 100.0 percent or P1.1 billion when compared to the revised June 2020 value of just over 1 billion worth of exports.

The significant increase in exports is attributed to the rise of more than 100 percent in the exportation of Diamonds during the current period.

The most exported commodities from Botswana were Diamonds and Machinery & Electrical Equipment at 79.1 percent and 6.0 percent of total exports, respectively.

Exported diamonds amounted to over P1.7 billion. Machinery & Electrical Equipment, Gold and Salt & Soda Ash contributed 6.0 percent (P130.4 million), 3.2 percent (P 70.2 million) and 2.4 percent (P51.9 million) respectively.

During the period Botswana’s exports were mostly absorbed by the EU with a market share of 57.0 percent, Belgium receiving 56.2 percent of total exports.

Belgium was the major destination of exports from Botswana during July 2020, having received 56.2 percent (over P1.2 billion) of total exports during the month. Almost all of these exports were Diamonds.

South Africa received 15.1 percent (P325.9 million), mainly attributable to Machinery & Electrical Equipment, Gold and Diamonds at 25.3 percent (P82.3 million), 21.5 percent (P70.2 million) and 8.8 percent (P28.8 million) of total exports to the country, respectively.

The United Arab Emirates received exports representing 5.1 percent (P111.4 million) of Botswana’s exports during the month under review, mainly Diamonds.  India and Hong Kong received 4.9 percent (P106.4 million) and 4.7 percent (P101.4 million) respectively, almost all attributable to Diamonds.

During the current period, exports transported by Air accounted for 84.2 percent while those by Road represented 15.0 percent of total exports. On the imports front, Goods entering Botswana amounted to P5.9 billion, displaying a decrease of 18.8 percent from the revised June 2020 value of P7.3 billion.

Fuel contributed the most to total imports at 29.0 percent (P1.72 billion) followed by Diamonds with 15.9 percent (P942.4 million).

Food, Beverages & Tobacco and Machinery & Electrical Equipment made contributions of 12.6 percent (P748.9 million) and 10.9 percent (P649.9 million) to the country’s total imports respectively. Chemicals & Rubber Products accounted for 10.5 percent (P625.3 million).

South Africa was the major source of imports into Botswana with a contribution of 53.3 percent to the country’s total imports. Namibia, Belgium and Canada followed with contributions of 21.6 percent, 4.1 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

With regard to regional groupings, SACU was the major source of imports with a contribution of 75.4 percent. Asia and the EU accounted for 11.7 percent and 6.0 percent respectively.

Total imports amounting to P4, 345.4 million, representing 73.2 percent, were transported into the country by Road. Transportation of imports by Rail and Air transport accounted for 18.8 percent (P1.1billion) and 8.0 percent (P477.4 million) in that order.

International Merchandise Trade Statistics is an account of all transactions of goods between a country and the rest of the world.

The account measures the value and quantity of goods which add to or subtract from the stock of material resources of a country, by entering (imports) or leaving (exports) its economic territory.

The monthly International Merchandise Trade Statistics are used extensively in the compilation of the country’s national accounts and the balance of payments. A trade deficit of P3, 775.1 million was recorded during July 2020.

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NAMDEB extends life of mine for land operations by up to 20 years

19th October 2021

Joint venture between De Beers and Government of Republic of Namibia announces new plan, supporting economic, commercial, employment and community benefit, following receipt of royalty relief Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Proprietary) Limited (‘Namdeb’), a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Namibia, today announced the approval of a new long-term business plan that will extend the current life of mine for Namibia’s land-based operations as far as 2042.

Under the previous business plan, the land-based Namdeb operations would have come to the end of their life at the end of 2022 due to unsustainable economics. However, a series of positive engagements between the Namdeb management team and the Government of the Republic of Namibia has enabled the creation of a mutually beneficial new business plan that extends the life of mine by up to 20 years, delivering positive outcomes for the Namibian economy, the Namdeb business, employees, community partners and the wider diamond industry.

As part of the plan, the Government of the Republic of Namibia has offered Namdeb royalty relief from 2021 to 2025, with the royalty rate during this period reducing from 10% to 5%. This royalty relief has in turn underpinned an economically sustainable future for Namdeb via a life of mine extension that, through the additional taxes, dividends and royalties from the extended life of mine, is forecast to generate an additional fiscal contribution for Namibia of approximately N$40 billion. Meanwhile, the life of mine extension will also deliver ongoing employment for Namdeb’s existing employees, the creation of 600 additional jobs, ongoing benefits for community partners and approximately eight million carats of additional high value production.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Namdeb, a shining example of partnership, has a proud and unique place in Namibia’s economic history. This new business plan, forged by Namdeb management and enabled by the willingness of Government to find a solution in the best interest of Namibia, means that Namdeb’s future is now secure and the company is positioned to continue making a significant contribution to the Namibian economy, the socio-economic development of the Oranjemund community and the lives of Namdeb employees.” Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy for the Government of the Republic of Namibia, said: “Mining remains the backbone of our economy and is one of the largest employment sectors within our country.

Government understood the fundamental impact of what the Namdeb mine closure at the end of 2022 would have had on Namibia. Therefore, it was imperative to safeguard this operation for the benefit of sustaining the life of mine for both the national economy as well as preserving employment for our people and the livelihoods of families that depend on it.”

Riaan Burger, CEO, Namdeb Diamond Corporation, said: “After more than a century of production, these operations were approaching the end of their life, but the creation of this new business plan means we can continue to deliver for Namibia for many years into the future. This is great news for the hardworking women and men of Namdeb, as well as for all our community partners who we are proud to have worked with over the years. We now look forward to starting a new chapter in Namdeb’s proud history.”

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Botswana records first trade surplus since January

7th October 2021

Botswana has recorded its first trade surplus for 2021 since the only one for the year in January.

The country’s exports for the month of July surpassed the value of imports, Statistics Botswana’s July International Merchandise Trade data reveals.

Released last Friday, the monthly trade digest reports a positive jump in the trade balance graph against the backdrop of a series of trade deficits in the preceding months since January this year.

According to the country’s significant data body, imports for the month were valued at P7.232 billion, reflecting a decline of 6.6 percent from the revised June 2021 value of P7.739 billion.

Total exports during the same month amounted to P7.605 billion, showing an increase of 6.1 percent over the revised June 2021 value of P7.170 billion.

A trade surplus of P373.2 million was recorded in July 2021. This follows a revised trade deficit of P568.7 million for June 2021.

For the total exports value of P7.605 billion, the Diamonds group accounted for 91.2 percent (P6.936 billion), followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment and Salt & Soda Ash with 2.2 percent (P169.7 million) and 1.3 percent (P100.9 million) respectively.

Asia was the leading destination for Botswana exports, receiving 65.2 percent (P4.96 billion) of total exports during July 2021.

These exports mostly went to the UAE and India, having received 26.3 percent (P1. 99 billion) and 18.7 percent (P1.422 billion) of total exports, respectively. The top most exported commodity to the regional block was Diamonds.

Exports destined to the European Union amounted to P1.64 billion, accounting for 21.6 percent of total exports.

Belgium received almost all exports destined to the regional union, acquiring 21.5 percent (P1.6337 billion) of total exports during the reporting period.

The Diamonds group was the leading commodity group exported to the EU. The SACU region received exports valued at P790.7 million, representing 10.4 percent of total exports.

Diamonds and Salt & Soda Ash commodity groups accounted for 37.8 percent (P298.6 million) and 6.2 percent (P48.7 million) of total exports to the customs union.

South Africa received 9.8 percent (P745.0 million) of total exports during the month under review. The Diamonds group contributed 39.9 percent (P297.4 million) to all goods destined for the country.


In terms of imports, the SACU region contributed 62.7 percent (P4.534 billion) to total imports during July.

The topmost imported commodity groups from the SACU region were Fuel; Food, Beverages & Tobacco, and Machinery & Electrical Equipment with contributions of 33.3 percent (P1.510 billion), 17.4 percent (P789.4 million) and 12.7 percent (P576.7 million) to total imports from the region, respectively.

South Africa contributed 60.1 percent (P4.3497 billion) to total imports during July 2021.

Fuel accounted for 32.1 percent (P1.394 billion) of imports from that country. Food, Beverages & Tobacco contributed 17.7 percent (P772.0 million) to imports from South Africa.

Namibia contributed 2.0 percent (P141.1 million) to the overall imports during the period under review. Fuel was the main commodity imported from that country at 82.1 percent (P115.8 million).

During the months, imports representing 63.5 percent (P4.5904 billion) were transported into the country by Road.

Transportation of imports by Rail and Air accounted for 22.7 percent (P1.645 billion) and 13.8 percent (P996.2 million), respectively.

During the month, goods exported by Air amounted to P6, 999.2 million, accounting for 92.0 percent of total exports, while those leaving the country by Road were valued at P594.2 million (7.8 percent).

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The 2021/2022 Stanford Seed Transformation Program Begins

7th October 2021

Founders from twenty companies have been accepted into the program from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa

The 4th Cohort of the Stanford Seed Transformation Program – Southern Africa (STP), a collaboration between Stanford Graduate School of Business and De Beers Group commenced classes on 20 September 2021. According to Otsile Mabeo, Vice President Corporate Affairs, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales: “We are excited to confirm that 20 companies have been accepted into the 4th Seed Transformation Programme from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The STP is an important part of the De Beers Group Building Forever sustainability strategy and demonstrates our commitment to the ‘Partnering for Thriving Communities’ pillar that aims at enhancing enterprise development in countries where we operate in the Southern African region”. Jeffrey Prickett, Global Director of Stanford Seed: “Business owners and their key management team members undertake a 12-month intensive leadership program that includes sessions on strategy and finance, business ethics, and design thinking, all taught by world-renowned Stanford faculty and local business practitioners. The program is exclusively for business owners and teams of for-profit companies or for-profit social enterprises with annual company revenues of US$300,000 – US$15million.” The programme will be delivered fully virtually to comply with COVID 19 protocols. Out of the 20 companies, 6 are from Botswana, 1 Namibia, and 13 South Africa. Since the partnership’s inception, De Beers Group and Stanford Seed have supported 74 companies, 89 founders/CEOs, and approximately 750 senior-level managers to undertake the program in Southern Africa.

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