Botswana is a small country with a population of 2 million. The country located in the sub-Saharan Africa, is well known for its Kalahari desert which occupies 70% of the landmass and its mineral wealth in diamond.
Almost all of Botswana’s US$14.79 billion GDP is made up from the mineral extraction industries, with over 50% coming from diamond export revenues in the mineral sector, followed by livestock trading and others.
The country is ranked 149 among 188 global economies in the World Bank’s ranking for competitiveness for doing business, which measures the ease of starting and run successful enterprise in Botswana.
Some of the most noteworthy challenges experienced by SMEs are inadequate marketing skills, business premises and other start-up business problems. This is according to A 2002 research paper “Government Policy and Entrepreneurship Performance“ by the Department of Accounting and Finance at the University of Botswana.
In a 2012 editorial by the Sunday Standard, editor Outsa Mokone said ”[Botswana's] regulatory framework is not only outdated but also excessive, intrusive, tedious and outright unfriendly”, and that It takes two full months to register and start operating a business in Botswana.
The country has an unemployment rate of only 18%, which is marginally better than its SADEC neighbors of South Africa where it is at 25%, Namibia at 29%, or Zimbabwe which is unknown.
Writing in the Washington Post in November 2014, the Head of Stanbic Bank in Botswana, Onkabetsi Morapedi said there was a noticeable growth, particularly in the last five years, and an increasing number of SMEs in the country.
“More opportunities have arisen in time, largely in the form of tenders or purchase orders,” Morapedi wrote.
And an overview of the country by the World Bank released in April 2014 shows that Botswana has rapidly grown into becoming one of the fastest growing economies and moved into the ranks of upper-middle income countries from being one of the poorest countries in Africa since independence from Britain in 1996.
We look at the five ways Botswana stakeholders are assisting the country’s SMEs: