May 2—The Botswana Trade Portal has been successfully completed and is now the primary source of information on trading across Botswana’s borders. The portal will contribute to improving the transparency and accountability of transactions, and efficiency of trade.
A trade portal is a comprehensive, user-friendly website that includes information from government ministries and agencies about regulations, documentation requirements, duties, fees, taxes, restrictions, and appeals processes in clearing goods at borders.
The portal contains Botswana’s first interactive, searchable, and up-to-date customs tariff schedule.
Nathan Associates, in partnership with the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), began work on the World Bank-funded project in June 2015. The portal officially opened for public use in January 2016, after months of data collection, cataloging trade procedures, and uploading information. On April 21, at a ceremony in Gaborone, the portal was handed over to the BITC and the portal management team, which will now ensure its continuity.
The Botswana Trade Portal will assist traders and investors in complying with regulatory requirements associated with the importation and exportation of goods as well as helping Botswana comply with the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). Botswana was the second mainland country in Africa to ratify the TFA, which states that every member of the WTO has an obligation to publish on the Internet all trade related information promptly and transparently.
Aggregating trade-related information in a single, accessible location reduces the cost and time of trade. Before the development of the trade portal, critical information on regulations and licenses and forms for trading across Botswana’s borders was disseminated by multiple government agencies, some in electronic format and some in hard-copy.
The Nathan team in March 2016 trained members of the portal’s management team on the features of the portal, as well as managing its content, to ensure that this valuable tool is sustainably maintained. The team also conducted a training workshop with focal persons from various government ministries and agencies who will be the source of relevant updates for the portal management team.
Nathan Associates is a leader in trade facilitation, providing support the world over with customs modernization, trade portal and single-window development, legal framework modernization, and transport and logistics.