THE Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) says it hopes to increase trade with Zimbabwe from the current US$30 million to US$105 million buoyed by the export credit line scheme currently under discussion, an official has said.

Harare and Gaborone are currently working on a P1 billion credit facility to support Zimbabwe’s private sector.

BITC chief operations officer, Reginald Selelo told delegates attending the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Buyers and Sellers’ Forum in Bulawayo last week that: “Looking at the trade statistics between the two countries, there has been a decrease since 2014.
In 2014, we exported about $105 million worth of goods to Zimbabwe compared to $30 million in 2017. There’s need for us to increase trade. The instruments are there. We have the Zimbabwe–Botswana Trade Agreement, which can help us improve economically.”

“The export credit line scheme will open opportunities for companies in Botswana and Zimbabwe to do business. I would like to see an increase of exports from $30 million to the $105 million that we had in 2014 and it is very possible. So if we really believe in it, it can happen,” he said.

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Selelo said Botswana was interested in products from Zimbabwe.

“This is the message that we have come here with and we are encouraging companies at the ZITF to seriously consider taking up opportunities in Botswana,” he said.

Selelo said his country was a safe and stable destination for investment, with tightly controlled inflation and interest rates as well as minimum corruption.

“Looking at the investment climate in Botswana, it’s easy for companies to borrow and invest in their businesses. In terms of macro-economic stability, we are the best, according to the World Economic Forum and we are the second least corrupt country in Africa,” he said.

“We have a stable democracy and we don’t have foreign exchange controls in Botswana. Issues around inflation and interest rates in Botswana are tightly controlled. We export mainly mining products and we import manufactured products, fuel and food products. On the relations between Botswana and Zimbabwe, we are both members of the African Union and Sadc Trade Protocol,” he said.