Botswanas- Inset Map

Botswana photos
Chobe Safari Lodge
Economic Diversification
San Bushmen
San photos
Trade Mission


Washington, D.C.: Venue International Professionals, Inc. (VIP) is pleased to announce that the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of International Trade will be conducting an Exploratory Trade and Investment Mission to Botswana from October 17-26, 2004. This international trade event has been uniquely designed to introduce American small and minority-owned businesses that are interested in "Doing Business in Africa" with their counterparts in Botswana. The SBA is collaborating on this noteworthy effort in support of the Constituency for Africa's (CFA) "African Trade and Investment Policy (ATRIP) Program" that was successfully launched in 2002 by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). CFA's ATRIP program calls for the design and implementation of an Export Trade Assistance Partnership (ETAP) Program that will enhance the capacity of American small and minority-owned companies to successfully do business in Africa. ETAP, which is a program, started by the SBA in the early 1990s offers participants the opportunity to receive ongoing training and technical assistance, mentoring, and counseling in preparation for an international trade-related event in Africa.

About Botswana
The Republic of Botswana, which was known as Bechuanaland during its colonial era, proclaimed its independence from England on September 30, 1966. The current President of Botswana is H.E. Festus G. Mogae who was democratically elected as the nation's head of state in 1998. Botswana has benefited since its independence from outstanding political leadership, transparency and a stable democracy which makes it a very safe and secure African nation for trade and investment. Botswana is a landlocked nation that is geographically situated in Southern Africa and is bordered on the north by Angola and Zambia, on the east by the Zimbabwe, on the south by South Africa and on the west by Namibia.

Botswana is approximately 231,800 square miles, roughly the same size as Texas in the United States and its terrain varies from the arid Kalahari Desert to the lush forest of the Okavango Delta to the dry savannah of the Limpopo Valley. Botswana is constantly in need of rain, hence the nation's popular motto "Pula" or rain. The population of Botswana is approximately 1.5 million inhabitants who are primarily Tswana (80%) and speak various dialects of the Sotho language, Setswana with the rest of the indigenous population made up of Herero, Mbukushu, Subia ethnic groups as well as a few Europeans. The Capital of Botswana is Gaborone and English and Setswana are the official languages. About one-half of the people are Christians and the rest profess traditional ethnic beliefs.

Economic Growth
Once one of the world's poorest countries, Botswana is credited by the World Bank, as the country with the greatest rate of economic growth from 1966-1997, averaging an annual rate of 9.2%, well ahead of South Korea at 7.3% and China at 6.7%. It has since settled down to a more modest but respectable 5%. Today, an average per capita GDP of $3,100 makes it one of the wealthiest nations on the African continent and places it in the World Bank's upper-middle income category. Botswana is also the only African country to have obtained sovereign investment grade rating from the Economist Intelligence Unit and was also rated as the number one performer in Africa by the United Nations in 2003. This "miracle" has been attained through judicious utilization of limited resources, good governance and sound macro-economic policies. HIV/AIDS, however, presents a major threat to the overall sustainability of Botswana's economy with some estimates putting the infection rate at 36% - the highest in the world.

Mineral Wealth
The discovery of "industrial use" diamonds in 1971 enabled Botswana to utilize its mineral wealth to develop human resources and infrastructure, communications facilities and utilities. Diamonds account for 80% of total export earnings with cattle farming as a viable industry constituting 80% of the agricultural income. The Government of Botswana realizes that it must be able to diversify its economy and move away from a dependence on minerals in order to successfully compete in the global marketplace. As a result, a developing manufacturing sector is emerging which encompasses motor vehicle assembly, pharmaceuticals, leather and textiles, food processing and furniture. Due to the very small size of its domestic market, most of these industries are export-oriented. Botswana's largest export market is the European Union with South Africa as the largest trading partner on the African continent.

Botswana's government has indicated that with the exception of Debswana (diamond mines) and the Diamond Valuing Agency, all parastatals will be privatized. State enterprises such as electricity, telecommunications, transportation, water, real estate, cattle and mining sectors have all been "commercialized" with the elimination of government subsidies to enterprises operated as private businesses with the state as a shareholder. In most instances, Botswana citizens are given first rights to purchasing state enterprises. Foreign direct investment (FDI) forms a major portion of overseas capital flows into Botswana and, most recently, significant foreign investment has also gone into the development of infrastructure to include light manufacturing, financial services and tourism. The Botswana Development Corporation seeks out suitable partners for specific projects and the National Development Bank of Botswana offers long-term loans. The Botswana Export Development and Investment Agency (BEDIA) assist potential investors through all of the preliminary stages and provides ongoing support services, such as purchasing or leasing of property, obtaining work and residence permits, licenses and grants. For more information about BEDIA please visit their website at

The Participation Fee for the Exploratory Small Business Trade and Investment Mission to Botswana is $5,999.00 which includes roundtrip airfare on South African Airways (economy class); six nights deluxe hotel accommodations (based on bed and breakfast), all other meals and activities as listed in the SBA Program (to include meetings with government officials, one-on-one business meetings and site inspections of business facilities) and the Host Country Activities and Events. Passport and VISA processing fees are not included, but can be arranged.

Wildlife Conservation
In conjunction with the Small Business Exploratory Trade and Investment Mission to Botswana, participants will have an opportunity to enjoy a 3 day/2 night Post-Safari Tour of the spectacular Chobe National Park in the northernmost region of Botswana. This will also offer the participants the opportunity to investigate another major revenue generator of Botswana, the tourism industry sector. Botswana is home to many of the world's most famous game parks as well as the world's largest concentration of elephants. Botswana's fantastic abundance of natural wildlife is considered a prized environmental asset and is protected by an aggressive conservation strategy. Moreover, the SBA is also considering including an additional small business trade and investment trip to Lusaka, Zambia and Johannesburg, South Africa in conjunction with the Gaborone, Botswana Program.

Venue International Professionals, Inc. (VIP) is an African-American owned, full-service travel and tourism company based in the Washington Metropolitan Area specializing in travel and tourism destinations to the Continent of Africa. For more information about VIP or to inquire about how your company may participate in the SBA's Small Business Exploratory Trade and Investment Mission to Botswana - October 17-26, 2004, please contact VIP at 1-877-TO-VENUE [TOLL FREE], or (301) 856-9188 [VOICE], or (301) 868-2218 [FAX], or e-mail at Also, visit VIP's website at

NOTE: All Dates and Prices Are Subject To Change Based On Number Of Participants.