Botswana flag Botswana: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Botswana

Foreign Trade in Figures

Botswana has made significant efforts to open up to international trade and strengthen its integration in the region, despite its geographical position. According to the World Bank, international trade accounts for around 85% of the country's GDP. Diamonds represented 87.3% of the country’s total exports in 2022, while other significant exports included copper (3.8%), insulated wires (1.8%), and bovine animals (1.2%). Conversely, imports were led by diamonds (27.7%), petroleum oils (16.7%), motor cars (1.8%), cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose (1.7%), and motor vehicles for the transport of goods (1.7% - data from Comtrade). The country is heavily dependent on electricity imports, as it only produces 60% of its needs domestically. Moreover, Botswana’s trade balance is highly dependent on global prices and demand for diamonds.

In terms of countries, the main export partners in 2022 were the United Arab Emirates (27.1%), Belgium (19.0%), India (15.2%), South Africa (10.1%), and Hong Kong (6.5%), whereas imports came chiefly from South Africa (62.7%), Namibia (7.1%), Belgium (5.8%), India (4.5%), and Canada (3.6% - data from Comtrade). The country is a member of several regional and foreign trade organizations like the WTO, the SACU (Southern African Customs Union), and the SADC (Southern African Development Community), and has signed trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. Botswana is among the freest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the last available data from the WTO, Botswana exported USD 8.3 billion worth of goods in 2022, while its goods imports reached almost USD 8.1 billion. Overall, imports decreased by 3.6% compared to the previous year, while exports grew by 12.1%, amid a higher global demand for diamonds. As for services, the country imported USD 943 million and exported USD 588 million. The country’s trade balance fluctuates according to diamond prices and was estimated to be positive by 1.5% of GDP in 2022 by the World Bank (compared to a deficit of 4.9% one year earlier).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 6,5646,5168,4008,0876,392
Exports of Goods (million USD) 5,2374,2627,4208,3145,424
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,3701,2641,178944801
Exports of Services (million USD) 969362498588576

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 87.583.177.788.885.5
Trade Balance (million USD) 486-1,066-1,949-644556
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 170-1,467-2,851-1,325201
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 15.911.65.02.3-11.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 11.9-8.8-18.631.7-5.6
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 43.246.046.446.942.0
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 44.237.131.341.943.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -23.012.727.71.33.8
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -10.28.69.111.96.1

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU)

Member of Southern African Development Committee (SADC)

Member of African Union

Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Member of the African Economic Community

Member of the Cotonou Agreement

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United Arab Emirates 27.1%
Belgium 19.0%
India 15.2%
South Africa 10.1%
Hong Kong SAR, China 6.5%
See More Countries 22.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
South Africa 62.7%
Namibia 7.1%
Belgium 5.8%
India 4.5%
Canada 3.6%
See More Countries 16.3%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

8.4 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 87.3%
Copper ores and concentratesCopper ores and concentrates 3.8%
Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire,...Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire, cable "incl. coaxial cable" and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 1.8%
Live bovine animalsLive bovine animals 1.2%
Carbonates; peroxocarbonates "percarbonates";...Carbonates; peroxocarbonates "percarbonates"; commercial ammonium carbonate containing ammonium carbamate 0.7%
See More Products 5.3%
8.1 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 27.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 16.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 1.8%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in...Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 1.7%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.7%
See More Products 50.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: April 2024