While the majority of the Trade Hub’s activities are regional in nature, certain activities target Botswana as a direct beneficiary.
Through various regional, national and cross-cutting initiatives, the Trade Hub is working with Botswana to reduce the cost of doing business, improve the investment climate and facilitate the adoption of modern trade facilitation tools.
National Single Window: Since 2011, the Trade Hub has been working with Botswana stakeholders on the development of a National Single Window (NSW). An NSW, which connects all stakeholders in a single electronic data information exchange platform, has the potential to substantially reduce the time and cost of trade. On January 21, 2015, the Botswana Cabinet approved the establishment of an NSW for Botswana through a Presidential Decree, and identified the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) as the lead agency with authority to coordinate all activities related to the development and implementation of NSW. The Trade Hub has provided an embedded NSW Advisor to Botswana to assist in NSW implementation and training.
Customs Modernization: Recognizing the need to modernize and simplify its customs procedures, BURS began the process of drafting of a new Customs Act in 2014. To assist in the drafting process, the Trade Hub has provided a legal review advisor to work line by line through proposed legislation with business analysts and legal advisors from BURS to ensure that modern trade facilitation tools such as e-certificate of origin, valuation, and National Single Window are incor-porated into the legislative draft.
Botswana has expressed an interest in implementing Coordinated Border Management (CBM) and the Trade Hub is providing training, awareness-raising, and technical assistance to support this project.
Improving the Investment Climate: The Trade Hub assisted Botswana to develop a Point Based System (PBS) for work and residence permits. At the government of Botswana’s request, the Trade Hub in partnership with the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) developed a handbook of requirements for company registration and business licensing to be used by Botswana in their investment promotion efforts. The handbook will promotes investment and improves the business climate by providing a clear and transparent company registration and business licensing process in the country.
National Action Plans on Investment: SADC has requested support from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub to carry forward their regional investment policy framework program. A five-year process undertaken by SADC analyzed the investment climate in the region using the OECD’s investment policy framework in order to develop action oriented guidance for investment policy reform in the region. As the next step in the process, the Trade Hub is creating Investor Roadmaps or “NAPIs” (National Action Plans for Investment) for SADC Member States in five Member States, including Botswana, in coordination with officials from the Ministries of Trade/Industry.
Botswana “Doing Business” Committee: Under the auspices of the National Strategy Office (NSO), Botswana has established a national program to improve the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey. The Trade Hub has worked with the NSO and the Doing Business Committee on a range of issues. In addition to the National Single Window initiative, which was introduced through the Doing Business Committee, the Trade Hub provided technical analysis which has led to significant changes and liberalization to the Trade Act and immigration procedures.
Review of Botswana Wheat Flour Levy: The Trade Hub worked with the government of Botswana and the private sector to carry out an economic analysis of existing levies, in particular the wheat flour levy, which has repeatedly been cited as non-tariff barriers (NTBs) for Botswana in the context of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Trade. This study investigated the conformity of the levy to existing agreements and highlighted the costs and/or benefits for Botswana. The results of the study on the wheat flour levy were presented to Botswana’s National Committee on Trade and Policy Negotiations.
Botswana Business Code of Ethics: The Trade Hub, working with the US Department of Commerce, supported Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) to develop a voluntary Business Ethics Code of Conduct for the private sector. In 2011, the conference launching the code showcased the benefits of business ethics and addressed corporate concerns about the impact of adopting the code on their bottom line.
Effective Implementation of Regional Trade Agreements: As a member of both the SADC and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Botswana benefits from the Trade Hub’s work to ensure the ef-fective implementation of regional trade agreements. The Trade Hub did a study for the SACU Secretariat to identify constraints to expanded SACU exports to the US under the Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement (TIDCA). Additionally, the Trade Hub worked with Botswana on a variety of training initiatives including Rules of Origin training for the Department of International Trade, NTBs for the National Monitoring Committee and participation in Botswana’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum Conference.
Establishment of National Enquiry Points (NEPs): National Enquiry Points (NEPs) provide information portals where domestic and foreign producers, consumers or government entities can obtain information on a WTO member's technical regulations, standards, and certification procedures. The Trade Hub worked closely with the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to launch its NEP in September 2015, providing training and purchasing essential IT equipment and office furniture.
Assistance on Standards: The Trade Hub is implementing a technical assistance and capacity building program for BOBS to improve the standards development process, strengthen the legal and regulatory framework, and enhance outreach and communication efforts to ensure that private sector is more aware and involved in standardization activities.
Expanding Textile and Apparel Exports: The Trade Hub supported the participation of Botswana textile and apparel manufacturers in important trade shows such as MAGIC in the US, and Source Africa, in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition, the Trade Hub helped Botswana companies to meet international standards by sponsoring seminars on Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) to help ensure that textile and apparel companies are prepared to meet the social compliance requirements crucial to US buyers and sourcing executives.