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Botswana is a member of the WTO, SADC and SACU. It has various trade agreements including a BTA with Zimbabwe and a customs agreement with Malawi.

Botswana has experienced boom-bust cycles, two of which have occurred since the turn of this century. The economy recovered in 2016, after it suffered another setback when economic growth contracted in 2015 because of weak demand for diamond exports and persistent electricity and water supply shortages. Domestic growth was boosted in 2016 by both the expansion of mining activity, reflecting the recovery in diamond industry, and a sound performance of nonmining sectors.

After three consecutive years of surpluses, the fiscal position swung into a deficit in the 2015/16 financial year and another deficit is expected in FY 2016/17, reflecting lower mining revenues, a decline in revenues from the volatile South African Customs Union (SACU) and the continued use of fiscal stimulus. The government remains committed to returning the budget to surplus in the near term.

To achieve economic diversification, Botswana needs to promote industrialisation by accelerating economic transformation from the primary sector to advanced manufacturing and services. Over the past four decades, the government has put in place appropriate policies and initiatives in support of industrial development and entrepreneurship. It has also stepped up efforts aimed at addressing various challenges investors and entrepreneurs face by pursuing measures aimed at reducing the cost of doing business and increasing competitiveness, as well as enhancing skills development.

Last updated: September 2017

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