National Aid for Trade Strategy Launches
By Tebagano Ntshole
Gaborone — Botswana, through the National Aid for Trade Strategy, aims at building a diversified export- led economy.
Speaking at the launch of the strategy on September 20, the Acting Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Advocate Sadique Kebonang said it took into account the development aspirations of Botswana as outlined in key policy documents such as the Keynote Policy Paper for National Development Plan (NDP 11) .
Advocate Kebonang said the strategy also identified key national development objectives which could be achieved through international trade such as eradication of poverty and reduction in inequality, employment creation, diversified export-led economic growth and strengthening human development.
“The implementation of the strategy will be concurrent to that of NDP 11 to ensure its contribution to national development objectives,” he said.
He said the strategy would be implemented by different ministries, the private sector and parastatal organisations.
“We all need to own it and ensure that we mainstream the initiatives in our respective strategies and plans,” he said.
Advocate Kebonang said Botswana was a signatory to a number of trade agreements and these include the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Southern African Customs Union (SACU), SADC Protocol on Trade and SADC/EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
He said despite the market access opportunities for goods and services presented by these agreements, as well as trade agreements like Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), Botswana’s level of integration remains minimal.
“Further, Botswana’s exports remain undiversified and susceptible to external shocks like fluctuations in commodity prices,” he said.
He said the government continues to develop and implement projects, policies and programmes aimed at improving Botswana business environment and to achieve economic diversification.
These include infrastructure development like roads, rail and energy and regulatory reforms aimed at improving business service delivery.
The strategy was developed in partnership with the Commonwealth.
Giving the overview of the strategy, the consultant, Dr Claudious Preville said it has three priority areas; diversify export-led economic growth and employment creation, strengthening human development outcomes and eradicate poverty and reduce inequality.
He said the strategy has a number of objectives such as to improve trade performance and terms of trade, increase employment opportunities for women, youth and people with disabilities and modernize trade related infrastructure.
Other objectives are to diversify the export sectors and strengthen the legal and regulatory frameworks to support trade.
Source : BOPA