Textile and apparel exports from landlocked country of Botswana, located in Southern Africa, fell sharply by about 66 percent from P1.8 billion in 2011 to P609.6 million last year, the figures released by the Bank of Botswana indicate.
In 2012, Botswana’s textile and garment exports witnessed high fluctuation from a high of P330.4 million in the first quarter to a low of P79.3 million in the second quarter.
The uncertainty prevailing around the extension of the third-country sourcing provision under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) was the main reason for drying up of exports during the second quarter of 2012.
AGOA provides quota and duty free entry of apparels and other items from Botswana and 39 other African countries to the US market. The third country fabric provision was to end in September last year, which would have dealt a severe blow to apparel exports from countries like Botswana which do not have the entire textile value chain and are dependent on other nations for raw material.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Government is planning to consider a P500 million (about US$ 60.36 million) fresh bailout request for the country’s textile sector over a five-year period.
During 2009 to 2011, the Government bailed out the domestic textile and clothing sector through a P38 million package, which resulted in the creation of more than 5,500 jobs.
The Botswana textile and garment sector began losing its competitiveness after the policy changes within the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which happened around the same time as the global financial crisis of 2008-09.