Botswana: Sector Grapples With Challenges

Gaborone — The informal sector is grappling with challenges emanating from lack of access to credit, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Ms Anna Mokgethi has said.

She was speaking at the Women in Trade National Consultations in Botswana on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) meeting in Gaborone on Tuesday.]

Ms Mokgethi said, despite existing for a long time, the sector continued to face unsupportive regulatory framework and restricted operation space.

Therefore, she said this called for appropriate policies and favourable laws that would encourage growth and productivity of informal enterprises.

Ms Mokgethi stated that Batswana, especially women, had to make a living in the informal economy as vendors, walkers and cross border traders.

She said it was on this background that Botswana, in collaboration with United Nation Women, conducted a baseline study on Women in Informal Cross Border trade in 2012 which was aimed at establishing the status of women in the informal cross border trade and assess their capacity building needs and general challenges they faced when transacting across borders.

Ms Mokgethi said some of the key findings included that women in the informal cross border trade were challenged with using formal systems for most of their transactions as they deemed them complex and they were also faced with high import duties with long cumbersome documentation procedures.

She said another study that was carried out in March 2018 to determine formal sector employment, indicated that women constituted 43 per cent of employees in the private sector, 42.8 per cent in parastatals and 69.4 per cent of Ipelegeng employees.

She further said analysis showed that women were still under represented in mining and quarrying where they constituted only 15.3 per cent and 41.6 per cent in manufacturing, while in construction the representation was only 25.1 per cent and 34.2 per cent in real estate.

For his part, the AfCFTA chief negotiator for Botswana, Mr Phadza Butale, said the main objective of AfCFTA was to create a single market deepening the economic intergration of the continent.

Mr Butale said it was also meant to establish a liberalised market through multiple rounds of negotiations.

He said it also meant to achieve sustainable and inclusive socio economic development gender equality and structural transformation within member states among others..

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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