Botswana and five other Southern African states have finalised a deal that will allow trade with the United Kingdom to continue seamlessly whether or not that country leaves the European Union.
Botswana is chair of the “SACU plus Mozambique” trading bloc that has been negotiating to ensure that the preferential terms of Economic Partnership Agreement it secured with the EU in 2016, continues with the UK even when the country leaves the EU.
SACU states are South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini.
The SACU + M bloc has been in negotiations with the UK since that country accelerated its plans to leave the EU, a move colloquially known as Brexit. Trade ministers from all the countries recently met in Botswana to finalise arrangements for a post-Brexit deal.
In a statement on Wednesday, the UK’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the agreement would benefit British businesses but also support
“They will be able to grow their economies, create jobs and increase incomes for their citizens,” she said.
Investment, Trade and Industry minister, Bogolo Kenewendo told Mmegi formal signing of the agreement was expected at a meeting of Commonwealth Trade Ministers in London mid-October.
“SACU is due to put out a statement on the agreement, but yes the negotiations have been concluded and an agreement initialled,” she said.
Kenewendo is due to sign the agreement on behalf of SACU in London.
Trade between the UK and SACU+M nations was worth £9.7 billion (P130 billion). Botswana’s exports to the UK largely comprise meat & meat Products as well as diamonds.