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Exports plummet in April as diamond trade slump

Diamonds

Botswana’s exports significantly dropped in the month of April, recording just over P4.83 billion from P9.03 billion in March 2021, mirroring a decrease of 46.5 percent. This information is contained in the Statistics Botswana‘s International Merchandise Trade Statistics Monthly digest.

The country’s central date agency  says this fall is largely attributed to the decrease of 48.7 percent in the value of Diamonds exports, from P8.4 billion in March 2021 to P4.3 billion in April 2021, contributing 45.6 percentage points to the overall decrease.

Though the sector’s exports shed over P4.1 billion in exports value, the diamond group still continued to lead other commodities accounting for 89.6 percent (P4.3 billion) of total exports followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment with 3.4 percent (P166.5 million) of total exports during the month.

Asia was the main destination for Botswana exports, having received 53.1 percent (over P2. 5 billion) of total exports during the month of April 2021. These exports mostly went to the United Arab Emirates, India and Singapore, having received 20.5 percent (P989.8 million), 15.6 percent (P756.9 million) and 8.6 percent (P417.7 million) respectively, of total exports during the month. Diamonds accounted for 99.9 percent of exports to UAE and 100 percent of exports to India and Singapore.

During the month of April, exports destined to the European Union amounted to P1.3 billion, accounting for 27.8 percent of total exports. Belgium received almost all of the exports destined to the regional block, acquiring 27.5 percent (P1.3 billion) of total exports during the reporting period. The Diamonds group was the main commodity group exported to the EU.

The SACU region received exports valued at P606.9 million, representing 12.5 percent of total exports during the current period. Diamonds and Machinery & Electrical Equipment commodity groups accounted for 35.9 percent (P217.7 million) and 24.5 percent (P148.6 million) of total exports to the customs union respectively.

South Africa received 11.6 percent (P561.7 million) of total exports during the month of April. Switzerland received 4.0 percent (P191.5 million) of total exports in April 2021, wholly attributable to Diamonds.

In terms of imports Botswana received goods amounting to P6.7 billion in the month of April reflecting a fall of 26.5 percent from the revised March 2021 value of P9.15 billion. A decrease of 49.2 percent (P1.8 billion) in the importation of Diamonds had a substantial effect on the overall decrease in total imports value, contributing 19.8 percentage points to the overall decrease.

However diamonds still continued to be the leading export commodity coming ahead of Fuel; Vehicles & Transport Equipment and Food, Beverages & Tobacco. Diamonds that entered the country accounted for 27.9 percent of the total imports while fuel sat at 12.6 percent, with Vehicles & Transport Equipment coming third at 12.2 percent. Food, Beverages & Tobacco came forth contributing 11.9 percent.

Diamonds imports were valued at P1.87 billion, representing 27.9 percent of total imports, followed by Fuel and Vehicles & Transport Equipment with P850.0 million (12.6 percent) and P819.9 million (12.2 percent) respectively. Food, Beverages & Tobacco were valued at P802 million representing 11.9 percent of total import.

In terms of imports by region and country, the SACU region contributed 68.3 percent (over P4.5 billion) to total imports during the month of April. The top most imported commodity groups from the SACU region were Diamond; Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco with contributions of 19.1 percent (P879.1 million), 17.8 percent (P817.9 million) and 16.2 percent (P744.5  million) respectively, to total imports from the region.

South Africa contributed 60.7 percent (just over 4 billion) to total imports during April 2021 with Food; Beverages & Tobacco contributed 17.8 percent (P727.7 million) of imports from the country. Fuel and Diamonds accounted for 17.5 percent (P716.8 million) and 12.6 percent (P516.0 million) respectively.

Namibia contributed 7.4 percent (P494.9 million) to the overall imports during the month of April. Diamond and Fuel contributed 73.4 percent (P363.2 million) and 20.4 percent (P101.1 million) in that order to imports from the country.

Imports from Asia were valued at P927.6 million, representing 13.8 percent of April 2021 total imports. The major commodity groups imported from the regional block were Diamonds; Chemicals & Rubber Products and Vehicles & Transport Equipment; with contributions of 52.0 percent (P482.4 million); 14.3 percent (P132.6 million) and 10.1 percent (P93.9 million) respectively, to total imports from the region.

India, Russia and China were the main sources of imports from Asia, having supplied 5.1 percent (P346.4 million), 3.2 percent (P214.0 million) and 2.6 percent (P173.4 million) respectively, of total imports during the month.

The EU supplied imports amounting to P608.3 million, accounting for 9.0 percent of total imports. The major commodity group imported from the EU was Diamonds, at 81.0 percent (P492.7 million) of all imports from the union.

Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, having supplied 7.4 percent (P497.9 million) of total imports during the period under review.

Switzerland supplied 6.0 percent (P405.4 million) of the total imports during April 2021. The major commodity traded was Vehicles & Transport Equipment with a contribution of 99.4 percent (P403.1 million) to the overall imports from the country.

A trade deficit of P1.89 billion was recorded during April 2021.  This follows a revised trade deficit of P118.4 million recorded for March 2021.

Botswana uses Air as its main mode of transport for exports.  Air transport accounted for 90.7 percent of total exports during the reference period, while Road and Rail transport represented 9.0 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

Imports by Road accounted for 63.2 percent whereas those entering the country by Rail and Air represented 22.4 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

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Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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