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Trade deficit down in November 2021, exports went up

Trade deficit

Botswana’s trade deficit went down in November 2021 on the back of improved export activity. According to the International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month of November 2021 released by Statistics Botswana on Friday, total exports value for the month went up by 18.0 percent (P901.3 million), from the revised October 2021 figure of P5, 013.8 million to P5, 915.0 million. 

The increase is attributed largely to the rise in the exportation of Diamonds by 16.3 percent (P707.4 million) from the revised October 2021value of P4, 343.6 million to P5, 051.0 million. On the other hand, November 2021 imports were valued at P8, 302.8 million, representing a decline of 7.7 percent (P688.2 million) from the October 2021 revised figure of P8, 991.0 million.  The decrease was mainly attributed to the 14.0 percent (P478.7 million) decline in the importation of Diamonds from the revised October 2021 figure of P3, 407.4 million to P2, 928.7 during the current period.

This resulted in a significant shift in the trade balance, a 37 percent cut in Trade deficit from the October 2021 figure of P3, 840.8 million to 2, 387.8 million in November 2021.  Of the November exported merchandise value of  P5, 915.0 million, the Diamonds group accounted for 85.4 percent (P5, 051.0 million),  followed by Copper, Vehicles & Transport Equipment and Machinery & Electrical Equipment with 2.8 percent (P166.4 million), 2.7 percent (P160.7 million) and 2.6 percent (P153.2 million) respectively.

Asia was the main destination for Botswana exports, having received 55.6 percent (P3, 285.9 million) of total exports in November 2021. These exports were mainly destined to the UAE and India, having received 20.2 percent (P1, 197.1 million) and 13.2 percent (P781.5 million) of total exports, respectively.  Diamonds and Copper were the major commodities exported to the regional block during the month. Exports destined to the EU amounted to P1, 307.1 million, accounting for 22.1 percent of total exports during the month of November.

Belgium received most of the exports destined to the regional union, acquiring 22.1 percent (P1, 305.1 million) 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 P879.6 million, representing 14.9 percent of total exports. Diamonds Machinery & Electrical Equipment and Live Cattle accounted for 47.5 percent (P418.1 million), 15.2 percent (P133.7 million) and 8.4 percent (P74.0 million) of total exports to the customs union.

South Africa and Namibia received 11.3 percent (P666.9 million) and 3.6 percent (P212.4 million) of total exports respectively during the month under review.  In terms of imports, Diamonds were still the leader, contributing 35.5 percent (P2, 928.7 million) to the total  P8, 302.8 million value of  November 2021 imports. The diamond group was followed by Fuel; Food, Beverages & Tobacco and Machinery & Electrical Equipment followed with contributions of 13.3 percent (P1, 107.4 million), 12.4 percent (P1, 032.9 million) and 10.6 percent (P882.1 million) respectively.

The SACU, region contributed 67.6 percent (P5, 609.2 million) to total imports during the reference period. The top most imported commodity groups from the customs union were Diamonds, Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco , with contributions of 19.1 percent (P1,070.2 million), 18.5 percent (P1,040.0 million) and 17.1 percent (P960.6 million) to imports from the region, respectively.

South Africa supplied imports worth P4, 927.3 million (59.3 percent) to total imports during November 2021. Food, Beverages & Tobacco and Fuel made contributions of 19.2 percent (P945.6 million), and 19. 0 percent (P936.6 million). Chemicals & Rubber Products, Machinery & Electrical Equipment, and Diamonds followed with contributions of 12.7 percent (P625.7 million), 12.3 percent (P606.7 million) and 11.1 percent (P545.9 million) respectively to imports from South Africa.

Imports from the EU were valued at P1, 591.3 million accounting for 19.2 percent of total imports during the reference period. The major commodity group imported from the EU was Diamonds, at 94.0 percent (P1, 496.4 million) of all imports from the union. Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, with a contribution of 18.1 percent (P1, 499.9 million) of total imports during the month under review.

During the month Imports from Asia were valued at P754.3 million, accounting for 9.1 percent of total imports. The major commodity groups imported from the regional block were Diamonds and Machinery & Electrical Equipment with contributions of 46.9 percent (P353.5 million) and 20.7 percent (P156.1 million) of total imports from Asia. India and UAE supplied 2.5 percent (P205.1 million) and 2.4 percent (P195.5 million) of total imports during the period, respectively.

Goods exported by Air during the month of November were valued at P5, 159.8 million, accounting for 87.2 percent of total exports, while those leaving the country by Road were valued at P730.7 million (12.4 percent).  In November 2021, imports representing 56.5 percent (P4, 687.7 million) were transported into the country by road. Transportation of imports by Rail and Air accounted for 22.6 percent (P1, 878.6 million) and 20.9 percent (P1, 735.6 million) respectively.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

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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