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Official Name: Republic of Botswana

Internet Domain: .bw
International Dialing Code: +267

Table of Contents

Location and Size Comparative Economic Indicators
Government Business Climate
Population Credit and Collections
Legal System Risk Assessment
Economy Additional Sources

Location and Size

Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa, located just north of South Africa. Botswana has a total area of 232,802 square miles, making it about the same size as the state of Texas. The length of Botswana's border is 2,493 miles, and is located in the southeast of the country, almost on the border with South Africa.


Botswana is a multiparty constitutional democracy. Since independence in 1966, all elections have been held on schedule and have been freely and fairly contested.

There are three branches of government: executive, made up of the president, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who is the chief of state and the head of government, and the president’s cabinet; legislative, including a popularly elected National Assembly and advisory House of Chiefs; judicial, the High Court, Court of Appeal, local and customary courts, and industrial labor court.


The estimated population in July 2015 was 2,182,719. Growth rate 1,21% (2015 est.). Most of Botswana’s population is Batswana. Ethnic groups include: Tswana 79%; Kalanga 11%; Kgalagadi, Herero, Bayeyi, Hambukush, Basarwa ("San"), Khoi and whites 10%. The official language is English, but only 2.1% of the population speak it. 78.2% speak Setswana. Kalanga and Sekgalagadi are local languages. Adult literacy is 88%.

Botswana has one of the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection – estimated at 25.16% of the population in 2014. However, the country also has one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.

Legal System

Botswana’s legal system is based on Roman-Dutch law and local customary law. Botswana's High Court has general civil and criminal jurisdiction. Judges are appointed by the president and may be removed only for cause and after a hearing. The constitution has a code of fundamental human rights enforced by the courts, and Botswana has a good human rights record.


Botswana has transformed from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GPD of $16,600 last year. Diamond mining can be attributed to much of the expansion and accounts for more than one-third of the GPD, 70 - 80% of export earnings, and about one-third of the governments revenues. Tourism, financial services, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors.

Currency: Pula (BWP)

  • Pula per US dollar: 9.19
  • Pula per Euro: 11.84

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Comparative Economic Indicators – 2015

Botswana South Africa Lesotho Mozambique Namibia Zimbabwe
Population* (millions) 2.2 48.3 2.9 22.9 2.1 12.1
Population growth rate* (%) 1.21 -0.4 0.3 2.4 0.9 4.3
Age Structure (%)
(15 to 64 years old)
55.1 65.8 61.1 51.1 61.7 54.3
Age Structure (%)
(65+ years old)
3.1 6.1 5.4 3.0 4.1 3.8
Literacy (%) 88 93 84.8 47.8 85.0 83.6
Unemployment rate (%) 17.8 51.5 45.0 21.0 51.2 7.6
Inflation (%) 3.9 5.8 6.1 13.5 4.6 5.0
Population below poverty line (%) 30 31.3 49.0 70.0 55.8 68.0
GDP** (USD billions) 33.74 559.0 2.1 21.8 14.6 5.5
GDP real growth rate (%) 4.9 2 2,4 7.0 4.4 9.0
GDP per capita** (USD) 16,000 11,500.0 1,700.0 1,000.0 6,900.0 500.0
Public debt (% of GDP) 17.4 45.4 52.5 40.9 20.0 149.0
Exports (USD billions) 7.44 91.05 1.0 2.5 4.3 2.5
Imports (USD billions) 7.14 99.55 1.8 3.5 5.2 4.0
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold (USD billions) 8.885 48.4 0.9 2.0 2.0 0.4
Currency Pula
New Metical
Exchange rates (per USD)
9.2 9.5 7.0 26.6 7.0 373.0
Exchange rates (per EUR)
7.9 8.2 10.0 38.3 10.0 538.0
Rating in 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index*** 6.3 7.6 3.5 2.7 4.4 2.4

* August, 2015 estimates
** PPP – Purchasing Power Parity
*** 2015 Corruption Index: 10=Very Clean; 0=Highly Corrupt
**** 2015 Index of Economic Freedom: 100-80=Free; 49.9-0-Repressed
Economic Data from CIA World Factbook
2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, Tranparency International
2015 Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

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Leading Markets (2015): European Union, South Africa, Zimbabwe

Leading Exports: diamonds, nickel, copper, meat products, textiles, hides, skins, soda ash

Leading Suppliers (2015): South Africa, European Union, United States

Leading Imports: machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, fuels

Top Industries: mining (35% of GDP) – diamonds, cooper, nickel, coal; tourism, textiles, construction, beef processing, chemical products, food and beverage. Diamonds are by far the most important source of income for Botswana.

Business Climate

Foreign investment and management are welcomed in Botswana. There are no foreign exchange controls, the corporate tax rate is low (15%), and there are no prohibitions on foreign ownership of companies.

The Constitution of Botswana prohibits nationalization of private property. The legal system is sufficient to conduct secure commercial dealings, and foreign and domestic parties have equal standing. The country has written and consistently applied commercial and bankruptcy laws. Secured and unsecured creditors enjoy the same rights under bankruptcy proceedings as they would in the United States.

Credit and Collections

  • Collection Experience: Fair-Good
  • Exchange Delays: 3 months
  • Preferred Credit Terms: Unconfirmed letter of credit
  • Minimum Credit Terms: Unconfirmed letter of credit

Risk Assessment

Coface Country Risk Rating: A4 - Default probability is still weak even in the case when one country's political and economic environment or the payment record of companies are not as good as A1-rated countries.

Ducroire Delcredere Political Risk Rating: 1 (very low risk)
Ducroire Delcredere Commercial Risk Rating: A (very low risk)
Standard & Poor’s: A for long-term debt and Prime-1 for short term debt.

Both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service have awarded Botswana their highest sovereign ratings in Africa. The ratings reflect Botswana’s long record of political and social stability, rapid economic growth and prudent economic management. As an investment destination, Botswana is one of the best-rated countries in the developing world.

Sources for further information on doing business in Botswana

Business in Botswana – Government of Botswana web site providing detailed information on business and investment, incentives, taxation and customs, labor and manpower.

Mbendi – Africa’s leading business, travel and tourism web site. Provides e-mail news and alert services to help investors/exporters find opportunities, business and finance partners and reference information.


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This information is provided by ABC-Amega Inc. Providing international receivable management and debt collection services for exporters to more than 200 countries including Botswana. For further information, contact [email protected].

This report represents a compilation of information from a wide variety of reputable sources.

Economic Indicators: Variety of sources including the CIA World Factbook, COFACE Country Ratings, Economist Country Briefings, Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) Country Profiles.

Risk Assessment information: Provided with permission by Coface Country Rating. Also Belgian credit insurance company Ducroire Delcredere

Historical Exchange Rates: The Currency Site.