Botswana Market Entry

Botswana Market Entry

Basic conditions for the use of Czech goods on the market

Subchapters:

  • Market entry
  • Forms and conditions of operation on the market
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Issues of intellectual property protection
  • Public procurement market
  • Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
  • Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
  • Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
  • Fairs and events

Market entry

In accordance with the current Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the countries of the Southern African Development Community (the so-called EU-SADC EPA), which has been in force since 2016, it is possible to import most commodities into Botswana freely and duty-free. Only for a group of selected items is it necessary to have an import permit (so-called Import Permit), phytosanitary or veterinary or another certificate. Documentation requirements and customs tariffs for specific goods can be searched (by HS codes) in the Market Access Database of the European Commission. Useful information, an overview of import and export requirements and tariffs, including the current amount of VAT, are available on the website of the Botswana Unified Revenue Service.

Forms and conditions of operation on the market

Due to the geographical distance and the specificity of the Botswana market, it is desirable to use local representatives who are familiar with the environment or, depending on the nature of the distributor’s goods, when exporting. In the case of government contracts, a registered branch in Botswana or a local business partner is a necessary condition for participation in the tender. Registering a company in Botswana is relatively easy. The Botswana Investment and TradeCentre (BITC) is an agency of the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry that supports the inflow of foreign investment., which has its headquarters in Gaborone and several foreign offices (including Johannesburg and London). BITC provides a “one-stop” service center for foreign investors, advice on finding a business partner for a joint venture, information on investment incentives, sector opportunities, etc. If a Czech entity is considering establishing its own office or joint venture in Botswana, it is it is also possible to recommend using the services of this state agency. Many important companies and institutions (including, for example, hospital and hotel chains) are connected to South African and other multinational companies. For these entities, the purchasing policy is managed by the parent organization abroad.

Marketing and communication

According to cheeroutdoor.com, the Botswana market is relatively mature and highly competitive. Regular and high-quality promotion are the basic prerequisites for success in this market. In the field of advertising and marketing, there are a number of specialized companies and associations that provide service at a professional level. In the field of advertising, advertisements are usual in newspapers and professional magazines, which are published by individual professional associations (textiles, machine tools, engineering and mining industry, etc.) and also in electronic media and on social networks (especially via the Facebook and Instagram platforms).

A good opportunity for initial familiarization with the market environment is a visit to the general trade fair in Botswana Global Expo in Gaborone (see chapter Trade Fairs and Events for more information). Active participation in the role of an exhibitor has, in addition to the promotion of one’s own brand and the opportunity to directly address customers, also a reference role.

Issues of intellectual property protection

Botswana is a signatory to a number of international agreements and conventions relating to the protection of intellectual property and copyright, including the WIPO Agreement; Paris Convention (Industrial Property); Berne Convention (for the protection of literary and artistic works); PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty); WCT (WIPO Copyright); WPPT (WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty). Botswana is also a member of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).

The issue of intellectual property protection in Botswana is governed by the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, Act No. 8 of 2000.

In the event that a Czech company gets into a commercial dispute with a company in Botswana, it is useful to use the advisory assistance of a local law firm that is well acquainted with local customs and law.

Public procurement market

The area of ​​public procurement is regulated by the so-called “Local Procurement Programme”, on the basis of which up to 30% of the government’s annual budget for acquisitions is intended for purchase and supplies from small and medium-sized local companies. To qualify for the program, a company must have at least 25% local capital and meet the criteria of maximum annual turnover and number of employees. A company registered under this program can also participate in tenders intended for foreign suppliers.

More information on public procurement issues is available on the Botswana Government Portal.

Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes

International trade rules are largely respected in Botswana by government institutions and private companies. In any case, caution is in order for initial contacts and business cases. When choosing payment terms, it is recommended to use a documentary letter of credit. The date and method of making the payment depends on the specific customer and the established conditions of the trade. For the first deliveries, it is not unusual to pay in advance in full or as a deposit (up to 50%). The maturity period for state-owned companies is usually longer.

In the event that a Czech company gets into a commercial dispute with a company in Botswana, it is useful to use the advisory assistance of a local law firm that is well acquainted with local customs and law.

Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory

Citizens of the European Union, including the Czech Republic, do not need a visa to travel to Botswana for tourist purposes, they only need a valid passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of arrival. The maximum length of stay for one entry is 90 days (it is possible to apply for an extension). When traveling by car, it is necessary to pay road tax and compulsory insurance (upon arrival at the border). Up-to-date information on entry rates and conditions can be found on the Ministry of Tourism’s Botswana Tourism website.

The amount of foreign currency brought into the country is not limited. Unlike neighboring Namibia or Swaziland or Lesotho, the South African rand is not a widely accepted currency. It is possible to exchange currency to the local currency of pula (BWP) at the airport, at major border crossings, in banks, exchange offices or at the hotel, or it is possible to use a non-cash payment system. Most types of payment cards are accepted in the country, including VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. There is malaria in Botswana (not in the capital Gaborone) and in the north in the Chobe district the rare tsetse fly that spreads sleeping sickness. Despite the long-term water shortage, the quality of tap water is relatively good and drinkable. English is generally spoken. Motor vehicles drive on the left, pedestrians also avoid on the left. The international phone code is +267.

Although Botswana is a relatively safe country and crime is comparatively low e.g. with neighboring South Africa at an incomparably lower level, moving alone on foot especially after dark in larger cities (Gaborone, Francistown) is not recommended. Taxi services such as UBER or BOLT do not work in Botswana, but you can safely order a taxi at the hotel reception or at the airport.

Before your trip, we recommend registering in the database of voluntary registration of citizens of the Czech Republic when traveling abroad (DROZD).

Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic

The conditions of employment of foreign nationals and their residence are governed by relevant laws (i.e. Non Citizens Act, Immigration Act). Information on the conditions for obtaining a work permit can be accessed on the website of the Botswana government portal. When applying for employment of foreigners, it is also recommended to use the services of the state agency Botswana Investment and Trade Center and its “One Stop Service Centre”.

Health care is divided into public and private. Citizens of foreign nationalities who have been staying in Botswana for a long time are entitled to the use of state healthcare, however, in general, foreigners are advised to look for private healthcare facilities due to the higher quality and availability of care. An overview of private global health insurance offers that can also be used in Botswana is clearly processed on the Expat Arrivals information portal. More information about public health care can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health of Botswana.

Fairs and events

Basically, the only relevant trade fair in Botswana is the general trade fair called Global Expo Botswana, which was held once a year until the ongoing pandemic. Although this fair is nowhere near the size of similar fairs and exhibitions in, for example, neighboring South Africa, this event is widely attended by Botswanan business entities.

Global Expo Botswana

Next event date: unknown (the fair was last held in 2020, virtually)

Venue: Plot 54351, Off PG Matante Road, Central Business District (CBD) Exponential Building, Gaborone

Phone: +267 3633300

Email: [email protected]

 

Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)

The telephone emergency line of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Pretoria +27 82 416 0016 is also accessible via the WhatsApp and Viber applications and is intended exclusively for citizens of the Czech Republic in an emergency or threat to health or life.

Emergency service: 997 (when calling from a mobile phone 112)

Medical Rescue: 911

Medical Air Rescue: 390-1601

Police: 999 Fire: 998

Important web links and contacts

Government portal – links to state institutions, ministries and agencies

Botswana Investment and Trade Center – investment and export agency; assistance center for foreign companies (so-called One Stop Service Center)

Business Botswana – Botswana Chamber of Commerce

Botswana Tourism – tourism portal

Botswana Laws – a database of Botswana legal acts and laws

Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis – Economic and Social Information

Independent weekly Mmegi – information portal

Botswana Guardian – information portal

The Patriot – information portal

Botswana Market Entry