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Did you know that Botswana is the world's highest producer of diamonds by value? Botswana diamonds constitute a huge proportion in the country's economy contributing 70% of its total exports. Thus if the demand of diamonds were to go into rapid decline, the country's economy would suffer greatly as Botswana is highly dependent on this export.
Jwaneng, Botswana's famous mine, is the richest in the world, consequently the demand of Botswana diamonds is fairly high. The amazing discovery of this mine belongs to termites which in the process of water search brought grains of diamonds to the surface.
Botswana also exports beef, copper and textiles to many countries in Europe.
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Since its independence Botswana has maintained a high economic growth rate. Botswana's main economic sectors are mining, tourism, agriculture, cattle ranching and financial services.
The agriculture supplies about 50 percent of food needs, because only around 0.7 percent of the total land is arable. Millet, corn and sorghum are the major cultivated crops. Botswana imports most of agricultural products, mainly cereals, which are brought from South Africa.
The country has significant coal accumulations and can become one of the world's richest in coal countries.
Botswana is famous for its national parks, which have a diversified flora and fauna. These natural reservations represent the main tourist attractions of the country. In this context, it should be mentioned that tourism is becoming an important economic sector with 12 percent of the GDP.
At present the country's economy relies mostly on mining and minerals, but these are not permanent resources. Botswana's government is oriented towards the diversification of its economy and it is open to foreign investment. The country's main import partners are South Africa, Israel, Zimbabwe, China and Namibia.
Botswana's major imports are: food, machinery, fuels, chemicals, wood products, rubber products, paper products, beverages, metals, transport equipment.
Customs requirements of Botswana
Botswana Customs Contact Information
Address: Plot 53976, Kudumatse Drive, Private bag 0013, Gaborone, Botswana
Telephone:+ 2673638000, + 2673639999
During the colonial period Botswana's trade was primarily with Great Britain and Western Europe. Imports from Europe declined during the 1970s while imports from other African countries increased.
The South African Customs Union was formed in 1969 with Botswana as one of the founding members, along with South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland. Membership in the customs union removes many of the trade barriers, such as import duties and taxes, between member countries, making it easier to import and export goods within the local region.
The country is also the member of the following organizations: WTO and SADC (Southern African Development Community), and it has signed trade agreements with the European Union and the United States. It is one of the freest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, where foreign trade accounts to about 80% of the country's GDP.
Tariffs and Tax Exemptions
All policies applied by Botswana are harmonized within SACU. Goods imported under such policies must be delivered directly from the port of entry to a customs bonded warehouse.
Import permits are obtained from the Department of International Trade, Ministry of Trade and Industry. Import permits are not normally required for goods from other members of the Common Customs Area (Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Namibia) or from Malawi or Zimbabwe. Payments may be made in any foreign currency or in local currency to a non-resident account.
Prior to obtaining an import permit, imports of agricultural products, plants, livestock, and soil require approval from the Ministry of Agriculture. Import restrictions have also been imposed on grains from time to time to protect local producers. Imports of some vegetables and dairy products are seasonally banned when domestic supply is adequate. Milk imports, including from SACU, are subject to import quotas established on a quarterly basis by a Milk Importation Committee comprising producers and processors.
To export, a declaration form (BW 500 and BW 501 continuation sheet) must be completed in triplicate for all goods. Three copies, together with other relevant documentation, must be presented to Customs at the point of export. One copy is returned to the exporter who, upon receipt of the export proceeds, submits it to their bank. Payment must be received in Botswana within six months from the date of export, and any extension requires Bank of Botswana approval. Payment may be made in any foreign currency or in Pula from a non-resident account.