Find out more about the investment potential of Botswana.
Learn about the companies and investors interested in this African country.
Economic History in Brief
After achieving independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, Botswana’s economic growth has been on par with some of the largest economies in Asia. It has also become one of the most politically stable African countries, and the government has managed to maintain significant foreign exchange reserves and budget surpluses.
In the 1970s substantial mineral deposits were found. Between 1980 and 1989 the mining sector grew from contributing 25% of the GDP to contributing 38%. In 2000, the Orapa 2000 project became the main driving force behind Botswana’s continued economic expansion as it doubles the country’s main diamond mine’s capacity.
Between 2005 and 2008 the economy slowed and in 2009, the global recession also negatively impacted on Botswana’s economy which contracted by 5.2%. This was aggravated by the global industrial sector experiencing a massive downturn. Despite the downturns experienced, Botswana continues to be one of the top African countries in terms of investment potential.
As a member of Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the South African Development Community (SADC), Botswana serves as a gateway to investment in the southern African market and is considered as a predictable and secure investment environment. Tax rates are low, labour conflicts are minimal and there are no foreign exchange controls. Botswana also offers duty-free and quota-free access to the European market and duty-free access to Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho.
Some of the most prominent areas for investment in this lucrative environment are:
Manufacturing – In this industry, there are investment opportunities in machinery and electric, food, beverages, tobacco, fuel and chemical and rubber products. It is also worth looking into minerals, leather and glass manufacturing.
Agriculture – There is scope in the production of cereals, pork, honey, small stock, dairy and fruit and vegetables.
Processing – Because large quantities of beef, cattle and small stock hides are currently exported without processing, leaving a gap in the market for investing in the processing of these items.
Ostriches – Massive potential in this sector in manufacturing and processing because of high demand.
Greywater recycling – for irrigation purposes.
Education – A lot of investment opportunity for specialist training for veterinarians, business schools, technical schools in the mining and energy sector and in food quality research.
Health – The healthcare industry requires investment in the pharmaceutical and biomedical equipment sectors, a centre for cancer treatment, a high-quality orthopaedic facility, organ transplant services and neurological treatment facilities. There is also scope for investment in diagnostic facilities, particularly in laboratory and imaging.
Transport and logistics – Large-scale infrastructure is underway in Botswana, for example, the Kazungula Bridge and the Trans Kalahari Railway. The aim of these projects is to provide connectivity between SADC countries. There is massive potential in logistics and information services and systems as well as railway initiatives like locomotive supply and maintenance, wagon leasing and spare parts.
Mining and energy – Mining and energy is one of Botswana’s biggest industries and still has untapped potential. This industry is mainly focused on diamonds, coal, copper, uranium and nickel.
Companies Investing in Botswana
Some of the most significant companies making large-scale investments in Botswana are in the mining industry. In a joint venture between the government of Botswana and De Beers Group, the Debswana Diamond Company was launched to develop the flagship mine, Jwaneng. De Beers is a London, United Kingdom-based international corporation specialising in diamond exploration, mining, retail, trading and manufacturing. In 2019, a further $2 billion was invested as part of the Cut-9 expansion project. Since it was established in 1969, Debswana has become one of the most significant contributors to the economy of Botswana with over 80% of its profits being returned to its citizens. This contributes around 50% of public revenue, around 3% of the country’s GDP and equates to more than 80% of the country’s foreign earnings.
Another major foreign investor in Botswana is Two Shields Investments PLC, an AIM quoted investment firm with a goal of building an investment portfolio in the fast-growing and scalable technology sector. Two Shields holds a 17.8% stake in Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration Pty Ltd. Kalahari Key is a nickel, copper and platinum exploration and mining company based in Botswana with two mineral exploration licenses that effectively cover the eastern and central parts of a feeder zone covering the centre of the Molopo Farms Complex in the south of Botswana.
Investors with Interests in Botswana
Investors from all over the world have shown investment interest in Botswana. One of the most active investors is Mooketsi Tekere of Ngwana Enterprises. Known for his passion to create and develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Botswana, Tekere founded Ngwana Enterprises, an initiative through which Tekere works alongside the World Bank, Botswana Business Angels Network and the Global Entrepreneurship Network to bring together international thought leaders with local entrepreneurs with the goal of promoting angel investment and to build national economic diversification.
Other investors with an interest in Botswana include:
António Mello Campello, a Lisbon-based investment banker interested in energy efficiency.
Don Wyper, a Chicago-based investor in the finance technology industry.
Obi Felten, a San Francisco-based investors focused on early-stage consumer investments.
Gerry O’Neill, a London-based entrepreneur mainly involved in the healthcare industry.
Jonathan Becker, a San Francisco-based tech venture capitalist with a strong interest in family.
Jorge M. Torres, a New York City-based venture capitalist in the field of B2B.
David M. Moshe, a South African investor who owns several businesses in Botswana in the agriculture, education, minerals and property industries.
Since its independence, Botswana quickly rose to become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world with an impressive average growth of around 5% per annum over the past ten years. Botswana is part of SACU alongside South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. According to the United States Department of Commerce, there are fewer tariff and non-tariff barriers when it comes to trading with Botswana. A vast range of investment opportunities exists in a large variety of industries including manufacturing, agriculture, processing, ostriches, greywater for recycling, education, healthcare, transport and mining and energy.