Despite global recession, diamonds still play an important role as they account to higher percentage of the country’s imports and exports. According to Statistics Botswana’s latest Botswana International Merchandise Trade Statistics for April 2013, diamonds contributed 36.9 percent of total imports and 86.1 percent for total exports.
“Composition of imports by principal commodities for April 2013 shows that diamonds contributed 36.9 percent (P2, 172.6 million) to total imports (P5, 890.8 million) during the month, followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment with 13.4 percent (P789.3 million),” noted Statistics Botswana.
Fuel contributed 12.5 percent (P734.7 million) followed by Vehicles & Transport Equipment and Food, Beverages & Tobacco with 8.0 percent (P472.6 million) and 7.8 percent (P462.0 million) respectively. Chemicals & Rubber Products contributed 7.2 percent (P425.4 million).
As for principal exports Statistics Botswana said: “April 2013 total exports were valued at P6, 474.0 million, with 86.1 percent (P5, 576.4 million) attributed to diamond exports.”
However, other metals still play a significant role in the country’s mining industry. Copper/Nickel exports and Meat & Meat Products contributed 6.3 percent (P411.0 million) and 1.7 percent (P110.3 million) respectively, while Machinery & Electrical Equipment (mainly re-exports) contributed 1.4 percent (P89.6 million) to total exports during the month under review.
Statistics Botswana cautioned that total exports should be understood to mean the value placed on the consignment by the exporter as at the time the consignment crosses the border of the exporting country. It said the value may not be the same as what is finally received by the exporter in respect of the consignment, taking into account issues of time lag between the date the consignment left the exporting country and the time sales were actually made, as well as exchange rates at the time the consignment crossed the border and the time of sale.
“Some goods like Copper/Nickel may be sold after some refinements have been made; for example exporting Copper/Nickel Matte and receiving values of refined Copper & Nickel sales. The consignment that crosses the border of the exporting country in March, for example, may not all be sold during that particular month. As a result there may always be some leftovers and brought forwards that will bring differences between the value of the consignment as it crossed the border of the exporting country during a particular month and the actual sales made during that same month.”
Botswana has become a leading global diamond player with a number of De Beers’ Sightholders based in Gaborone where they cut and polish rough stones before they are exported to outside world. The full Diamond Trading Company relocation is expected to be concluded before the end of the year and already De Beers has spent millions of Dollars in the exercise.
Of the total imports of P5, 890.8 million, 64.4 percent (P3, 791.7 million) came from SouthAfrica while Namibia supplied 9.8 percent (P579.4 million). The European Union (EU) supplied imports valued at P820.0 million during April 2013, representing 13.9 percent of total imports. Imports from the EU are mainly from the United Kingdom and Belgium, contributing 8.0 percent (P473.1 million) and 4.9 percent (P286.5 million) respectively, to total imports during the month under review.
Imports from Asia were valued at P238.8 million in April 2013, representing 4.1 percent of total imports. Israel alone supplied 1.2 percent (P69.8 million) of imports into Botswana during the month under review. Japan and China both contributed 0.7 percent at values of P39.7 million and P39.0 million respectively. Imports from the United States of America were valued at P351.1 million in April 2013, which is 6.0 percent of total imports during the month.
At the sametime, of total exports, 15.8 percent (P1, 020.2 million) of this value destined to SADC. South Africa received 10.8 percent (P699.6 million), Namibia 2.8 percent (P183.4 million) while Zimbabwe got 1.5 percent (P94.6 million) of total exports during the month under review.
Exports destined to the EU were valued at P4, 420.3 million, representing 68.3 percent of total exports in April 2013. The United Kingdom and Belgium received 56.4 percent (P3, 653.8 million) and 11.4 percent (P735.2 million) respectively, of total exports in April 2013.
In April 2013, exports destined to Asia were valued at P563.0 million, which is 8.7 percent of total exports. Israel contributed greatly to Asia destined exports, with 6.6 percent (P430.1 million). China and Thailand both received 0.7 percent at P45.2 million and P42.7 million respectively. Exports to Norway were valued at P257.3 million, representing 4.0 percent whereas Switzerland and the United States of America received 2.3 percent (P147.5 million) and 1.0 percent (P65.2 million) respectively, of total exports during April 2013.