Botswana Looks to Deepen Trade Relations with Kenya as Country Moves to Stimulate Economic Growth

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Botswana is looking to further deepen its trade relations with Kenya despite the two nations’ previously hostile relationship a decade ago.

Kenya is hosting Botswana’s Minister for Trade, Investment and Industry, Vincent Seretse, who is leading a trade delegation to Kenya for a three-day visit this week.

The visit comes at a time when Botswana’s economic transformation has been relatively slow.

Kenya currently exports goods worth about Ksh357.1 million ($3.7 million) to Botswana annually. These goods include vegetables, medicine, printing materials, textiles, machinery, cutlery and furniture. On the other hand, Botswana exports goods worth a paltry Ksh17.2 million ($182,406) to Kenya. These include vehicles, tractors, textiles, and plastics.

Nonetheless, Botswana’s agriculture and textile industries have been pegged as two economic precincts which can lead Botswana’s economic revolution.

An annual multi-sectoral forum dubbed the Investment & Trade Conference and the Global Expo organized by the Botswana Investment & Trade Centre (BITC) found that the two sectors could play an impactful role in turning Botswana into an export-led economy.

In a statement issued earlier this week, former Minister of Trade and Industry in Lesotho, Joshua Setima said Botswana can learn a lot from Lesotho’s textile industry.

Meanwhile, Botswana has sent a delegation to Kenya to improve on the two nation’s pre-existing business relations. Kenya and Botswana have been developing stronger ties over the past few years.

In June 2014, both countries held a business forum in Gaborone aimed at improving trade between the two nations.

Mid last year, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build their trade and investment partnerships in agriculture, agri-business, ICT, Horticulture and Manufacturing among others.

Speaking during a 2016 Kenyan-Botswana Forum in Nairobi, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Adan Mohamed confirmed noted that Kenya had been proactive in its efforts to improve relations between the two nations.

He stated that Kenya was keen to capitalise on business and Investment opportunities for their mutual benefit.

“We have had productive trade connections in the past and the forum today will further that bond as we expand our portfolio of commodities to develop and diversify our economic capacity,” he said at the time.

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