Bots targets Nam, Zim to boost trade
By Mpho Tebele
GABORONE- Parastatal Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) this week said it will lead trade promotion missions to Namibia and Zimbabwe in March and April 2017, respectively.
In a statement, BITC – whose mandate is to woo investors into the country – said the trade missions aim to provide Botswana companies with a platform to explore export and partnership opportunities in these targeted markets.
According to the release, targeted sectors/products for Namibia include plasticware – buckets and containers, brushware, toilet paper and serviettes, blankets, PVC conduit pipes, solar energy, building materials, wooden roof trusses, door and window frames, protective wear, floor covering of plastics, salt, fencing poles and fencing material, canvas products, canned and dry pet food.
Targeted sectors and products for Zimbabwe include maize and seed oils, beer, carrier bags and bin liners, green bar soap, instant noodles, dishwashing and related cleaning materials, corned beef, pet food, cosmetics, blankets, electrical products, copper cables, PVC pipes, door and window fittings and frames, chloride batteries and chemicals.
Therefore, BITC is inviting all manufacturing and services companies with exportable products to these missions.
The trade promotion missions’ scheduled visits come at a time when a study by BITC shows that there is potential to more than double the bilateral trade between Botswana and Zimbabwe. The results of the market survey indicate that trade potential between the two countries was estimated at US$333 million (P3.5 billion) in 2014, while actual trade stood at US$128 (P1.4 billion) during the year.
BITC manager market intelligence, Tiroyaone Sirang, is quoted as saying that a large portion of the current trade, however, appears to be transit trade in the motor industry rather than products actually manufactured in Botswana.
Potential exports, according to the survey, include clothing and household textiles that include T-shirts and towels, prepared foodstuffs like a mixture of juices, cereals, sugar, confectionary, pasta, canned beef, plastic sacks, bags, PVC tubes, pipes and hoses, salt, toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products.
Live animals, meat and meat products – as there is demand for de-boned meat and pork – as well as medicaments like veterinary medicines could also be exported.
According to Sirang, there is market access for typical select goods, which include cooking oils, sausages and similar products, uncooked pasta, bars of soap, blankets, doors and windows in their frames.
“For one to export to Zimbabwe, there are bilateral agreements that allow exemption from customs duties as long as goods satisfy minimum 25 percent local content.
“The business owner needs to register with BURS to ascertain the 25 percent,” he reportedly said.
Sirang said the aim of the survey was to find ways to explore and develop entirely new markets while at the same time enhancing the existing markets access for Botswana exports into Zimbabwe.
Pioneers of Botswana exporters to Zimbabwe include Botash, which exports salt, Chloride Botswana which sells batteries, O3 Beverages with bottled water, and BMC with canned beef.
Among some of the strategies identified by the study to penetrate the Zimbabwean market include the advantage of the Plumtree border post, which is faster and has less traffic compared to Beitbridge border in South Africa.
The study further identified Harare and Bulawayo as the two major hubs that should be targeted, as they constitute 50 percent and 20 percent of total consumption respectively.
Further, the survey also revealed the top 15 products identified in terms of overlap in trade.
Overlap is the lower figure between Botswana exports and partner imports and represents total capacity for trade.
The products included vehicles for goods and people, nickel mattes, light petroleum oils, commodities not specified according to kind, salt both the table salt, denatured salt and pure sodium chloride, and vaccines for veterinary medicines.