“Our relations with India are enduring, and growing”
H.E. Ms Lesego Ethel Motsumi, High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana to India, responds to a range of questions from India Empire Magazine’s Editor Sayantan Chakravarty...
INTERVIEW WITH H.E. Ms LESEGO ETHEL MOTSUMI, HIGH COMMISSIONER OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA TO INDIA
India and Botswana have long-established diplomatic ties. Would you say that relations between the two nations are at an all-time high at present?
Relations between Botswana and India have been cordial since the very beginning in the 1960s. Our two countries have and continue to engage one another on different issues both at Government to Government level and people to people interactions. We see growth in our relations as measured by trade between the two countries with India currently one of the highest consumers of Botswana diamonds. Indians are also taking our best offers in tourism and are investing in the sector as well as visiting the country to see the African big five animals as well as see the world renown Okavango Delta (http://www.botswanatourism.co.bw/). From Botswana side, we see more Indians doing trade with Botswana and repatriating annually, record profits from their businesses in Botswana. Botswana also sends health patients to India for super specialty medical attention. If this is how you define an all-time high versus low relations, then the aforesaid speaks volume about our enduring relations.
Please give us a sense of bilateral trade between the two countries
India is an important trading partner with Botswana. As you may be aware, Botswana is one of the leading countries in mining of gem diamonds. Indian private companies constitute about 80% of the buyers of the total gems sold by the Government Company, the Okavango Diamond Company (https://www.odc.co.bw/).
India on the other hand exports to Botswana include finished products, metals, machinery and equipment, cotton yarn, fabrics, ready-made garments, drugs and pharmaceuticals and transport equipment amongst many other products. This trade ties is however in favour of India given the many products it exports to Botswana. To address this imbalance, the government of Botswana has come up with a policy of import substitution, wherein a company can manufacture locally the same products that are sourced from other countries. Given Botswana’s huge purchasing power parity of more than US$ 16,000/INR 1, 027,020.80, Indian companies are entering Botswana market in large numbers annually.
Trade between the two countries is underpinned by a strong macroeconomic stability, property rights guarantees and bilateral agreements (http://www.hcigaborone.org.bw/) that protect businesses on reciprocal basis.