Botswana - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector

Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects.

Last published date: 2022-08-02

This article includes two sections:  Selling to the Government (with advocacy language) and Project Financing (with Multilateral Development Banks and Project Finance standard language added).

Selling to the Government

Public procurement in Botswana is has been decentralized and under the regulation of a new Procurement Act that was put into effect in April 2022.  Procurement is now done at the ministry level with the new procuring authority, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA).  The procurement regulator will now focus on oversight, prescribing regulations and procedures for all public procurements.  Contractors who wish to participate on government tenders must register with the PPRA on their Integrated Procurement Management System (IPMS).  The government is the largest consumer of goods and services in the country.  In the 2020/2021 fiscal year the GoB spent more than $510 million (lower than the $741.8 million recorded in the previous year) in public procurements, excluding micro procurements. The value of tenders awarded through micro procurement for 2020/2021 financial year amounted to $27.63 million, far much lower that the $41.8 million recorded in the previous year.  The National Development Plan, Version 11, outlines key government projects through 2023 valued at 101.4 billion Pula.  The largest include defense equipment procurements to modernize the Botswana Defense Force, water transportation and treatment infrastructure, power grid investments, land servicing, and transportation infrastructure.

The U.S. Embassy can assist in making initial business contacts with government officials through paid commercial services.  Investors should be aware that increasing government procurement requirements contain preference schemes for Botswana citizen-owned businesses and locally based businesses.  Consult the investment climate chapter for further details.  Note that unless otherwise specified, many bids are required to be registered with the PPRA.  This requirement does not apply to foreign companies unless the company has registered to operate as a local company.  The U.S. Embassy offers a service to deliver tender documents to U.S. companies interested in bidding on projects in Botswana.  More information is available at https://bw.usembassy.gov/.

U.S. companies bidding on government tenders may also qualify for U.S. government advocacy.  A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies.  The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts.  Advocacy assistance can take many forms, but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government.  Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.

Financing of Projects

Most big infrastructure projects in the country are financed through budget allocations, and some are jointly financed through government funds and borrowing from big corporations such as the World Bank, African Banking Corporation, Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), Chinese soft loans, etc.  A good example of such projects is the Kazungula Bridge, which was built with funds from the governments of Botswana and Zambia, and the African Development Bank.  The GoB plans to adopt the public private partnership model of project delivery to relieve pressure on the government; the GoB has identified a few projects to be implemented in this fashion i.e., Zambezi Agro - Commercial Development project, Chobe – Zambezi Water Transfer Scheme, Tshele Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, and a few other projects including road and rail projects.  The GoB has has already started adopted the PPP model for renewable energy projects.

Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales