Botswana - Country Commercial Guide
Licensing Requirements for Professional Services

Includes license requirements for key professional services that are open to U.S. service providers.

Last published date: 2022-08-02

Botswana’s 2003 Trade Act reserves licenses for citizens in 35 sectors, including butcheries, general trading establishments, gas stations, liquor stores, supermarkets (excludes chain stores), bars (other than those associated with hotels), certain types of restaurants, boutiques, auctioneers, car washes, domestic cleaning services, curio shops, fresh produce vendors, funeral homes, hairdressers, various types of rental/hire services, laundromats, specific types of government construction projects under a certain dollar amount, certain activities related to road and railway construction and maintenance, and certain types of manufacturing activities including the production of furniture for schools, welding, and bricklaying.  The law allows foreigners to participate in these sectors as minority joint venture partners in medium sized businesses.  Foreigners can hold the majority share if they obtain written approval from the trade minister.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, which administers the citizen participation initiative, has taken an expansive interpretation of the term chain stores, so that it encompasses any store with more than one outlet so that they are applying the citizen participation requirements to any business with more than one store.  This broad interpretation has resulted in the need to apply for exemptions for certain supermarkets, simple specialty operations, and general trading stores.  These exemptions have generally been granted in the past and many large general merchandise markets, restaurants, and grocery networks are owned by foreigners as a result.  However, the GoB now requires applicant companies to negotiate localization agreements as a requirement for exemptions.

Resources

  • Botswana Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA):  AGOA
  • Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub:  https://www.satihub.com/     
  • Botswana Investment and Trade Centre
  • Botswana Bureau of Standards
  • Southern African Development Community
  • World Trade Organization
  • Botswana Unified Revenue Service
  • U.S. Export Controls:   https://www.trade.gov/us-export-controls