Trading requires something to trade

Investment, Trade and Industry minister Peggy Serame believes Botswana owes no apology for building its manufacturing sector by protecting certain products such as bottled water and baked goods from cheaper imports. By month-end, school uniforms will be added to the list, writes Staff Writer, MBONGENI MGUNI

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is scheduled to kick off on January 1, 2021 with trade between countries that have agreed on tariffs. AfCFTA will potentially be the biggest common market in the world, with 1.27 billion consumers, and an aggregated gross domestic product of up to $3.4 trillion.

For Botswana’s aspirations of an export-led economy, AfCFTA is a dream come true. On the ground, however, is the recurring nightmare of AfCFTA leading to a swamping of the local market by cheap imports, drowning out the little manufacturing capacity available. Voices in certain circles fear that AfCFTA could be a ‘mega-South Africa’, which for decades has overshadowed the local productive sector empowered by the provisions of the SACU agreement.

Editor's Comment
Happy Independence!

We are 56 years old and what do we have to show for it? Looking at where Botswana started and where it is today, there are a lot of developments, but whether the developments match the number of years we have enjoyed as a country is a topic for another day.The fact that cannot be denied is we have seen major developments, but we are still lacking in several pertinent areas.Our beautiful country imports almost everything. We import fuel, food,...

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