Botswana - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors & Techniques

Identifies common practices used in selling in this market, including sales material that needs to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2022-08-02

English is the official business language, but Setswana is the traditional language and remains predominant in social and business interactions.  Depending on the scale or target consumer, marketing materials may need to be translated into Setswana.

Trade Promotion and Advertising

The Botswana Trade and Investment Centre (BITC) provides a platform for local manufacturers to expand their market share both regionally and internationally. They continually invite local businesses to regional and international trade shows, organize trade missions and are also the organizers and custodians of the Global Expo Botswana. This is a B2B multisectoral expo that attracts international players. 

There are several media houses in addition to state owned which private companies can use to advertise and promote their products.  Botswana Television (BTV) is a popular state-owned television channel which is also accessible for promotion and advertising.

Resources

Pricing

Businesses are allowed to set prices inclusive of 14% VAT.  Most goods are free of price controls with the exemption of a few products such as maize meal, petroleum, diesel and illuminating paraffin.

Sales Service/Customer Support

After care service is very important and highly recommended.  Most government procuring entities have expressed their preference in dealing with companies who have backup support close by.  This could be through a local agent/office or a regional support office.

Local Professional Services

Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) - can provide a list of its accredited accounting firms and individuals who can assist with various services, from company registrations, to setting up company for operation (https://www.bica.org.bw)

Law Society of Botswana can provide a list of lawyers who are duly registered and with the required practising certificate (Law Society of Botswana - Home | Facebook).

Principal Business Associations

Business Botswana – This is the main and mostly recognized Business Association in Botswana with membership open to all companies, associations and organizations.  Their advocacy role has influenced many policy changes in Botswana.

American Business Council (ABC) in Botswana (Affiliated to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) - ABC represents the interests of U.S. companies and other companies wishing to do business with the U.S.  They have signed an MOU with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Botswana Exporters and Manufactures Association (BEMA) - A very active member driven organization representing the interests of exporters and manufacturers in Botswana.  They have created an online selling platform for their members called BEMA Stores.

Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services

Botswana law restricts 35 service sectors to Botswana citizens, and these include 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 government has also put a 40 percent localization requirement on Solar Power projects.

Botswana is currently in the process of implementing a Citizens Economic Empowerment (CEE) Law that will require foreign companies to outsource at least 50 percent of their services/projects to citizen-owned companies.