Policy and Negotiations in Botswana

The Project at A Glance

Botswana is a highly outward-oriented economy, with a trade-to-GDP ratio reaching nearly 100%. Despite the country’s rapid economic growth, Botswana’s economy continues to be driven by primary products such as diamonds, and there is little to no diversification.
The objective of the assignment was to design the Trade Capacity Building Action plan, which would contribute to enhancing the Trade Facilitation Advisory Group (TFAG) and the National Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations’ (NCTPN) ability to effectively and efficiently coordinate trade policy formulation and national negotiating positions.

What We Found

In spite of its heavy reliance on international trade, it is only recently that Botswana has developed and mainstreamed trade policy into the Government’s long-term development plans. In 2005, the Ministry of Trade and Industry started “The National Trade Policy for Botswana”. Afterwards, the Ministry started the Botswana Investment Strategy, the Botswana National Export Strategy, and the Botswana Private Sector Development Strategy. The formulation of trade policy and the negotiation of agreements are undertaken by the Ministry of Trade.
Botswana has also been active in regional and multilateral trade negotiations, having successfully concluded a number of trade agreements. These include memberships to SACU and SADC. Botswana is also engaged in a number of negotiations regionally (Tripartite EAC-COMESA-SADC, Continental Free Trade Area), bi-regionally (SADC-EU EPA) and multilaterally (World Trade Organisation).
While signing these trade agreements brings numerous benefits to Botswana, there are equally a few considerations to take into account namely the additional costs that arise from all the necessary legal and administrative requirements to fully implement the agreements. Botswana has not had the capacity to implement all the commitments that it undertook. Some of the constraints faced by Botswana included:

  • Limited technical capacity
  • Insufficient human resources to administer the rules or change existing legislation
  • Weak coordination systems between ministries
  • A non-existent monitoring mechanism for reviewing existing commitments and their application
  • A weak response rate from stakeholders for reporting non-compliance
  • A lack of statistical data analysis of trends to invoke appropriate trade defence measures when required

Our Strategy and Impact

In light of the increasingly complex nature of the various negotiations and the demands for implementing commitments in various negotiated agreements, Botswana needs a capacity-building programme to improve its preparedness for negotiations.
The capacity building programme was structured along four modules namely goods, services, negotiation capacity and implementation of agreements. A total of 25 activities were undertaken over the course of two years, within the context of the tripartite, SADC and EPAs. Two activities focused on trade in services in a bid to impart knowledge on the general and advanced principles. Another activity, targetting parliamentarians, sought to ensure that they are sufficiently cognisant of the multidimensional nature of trade in services, understanding both the benefits and risks associated with any final negotiated agreement. Other workshops focused on the areas being negotiated in the EPAs and in the tripartite: intellectual property rights, competition policies, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS), and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The training was also provided with regard to analytical skills and this covered a wide range of stakeholders and topics. These were predominantly geared towards policymakers and think tanks. The training also focused on the implementation of trade agreements, lending institutional support to facilitate the effective implementation of agreements and to further facilitate a more significant outcome.

Our Core Solutions

With the rapid proliferation of trade agreements worldwide, there are new market and investment opportunities for countries to explore. We prepare clients to navigate trade and investment negotiations and advocate for their best interests. We also provide customised advocacy solutions for sustainable growth. From determining our clients’ specific requirements and interests to designing an effective strategy, we represent and advocate for our clients in various trade-related matters and facilitate coordination between different organisations.

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Project Areas