Since Botswana became independent in 1966, it has governed under a constitution that established a non-racial democracy which maintains freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of association, and affords all citizens equal rights. At independence, Botswana did not seem to offer the most conducive environment for rapid growth. Agriculture and infrastructure were both significantly underdeveloped vis-a-vis other sub-Saharan African countries. Over the 30 years between 1966 and the mid- 1990s, Botswana was the fastest-growing economy in the world. The country had average annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates of over 1O per cent. This growth rate was faster than the better-known "tiger" economies of South East Asia. The key driver of this impressive performance has been the mining sector which since the 1980s has contributed to an average of 35 per cent of the GDP, accounted for 82 per cent of export earnings, and made up 53 per cent of government revenues. The diversification in exports markets has continued over the years leading to the economic growth of the country. The performance of the economy has enabled government to increase resources for its development budget.
Export development has been highly regarded by both public and corporate policy makers. Exports play a significant role in a nation's economic prosperity. This is mainly due to the substantial macroeconomic and micro-economic benefits derived from external trade.
In 2007, the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) launched an Export Development Programme (EDP). The programme aimed to increase exports, particularly of products and services that add value and contribute to the diversification of the economy.
It was targeted at Botswana based manufacturing companies that had the capacity or potential to export and aimed to assist manufacturers compete both in regional and international markets. This programme was augmented with trade promotion activities that BEDIA undertook with the intent of facilitating foreign market access for Botswana manufacturers. It included contact promotion missions, trade fairs, buyer seller missions, and facilitated contacts with overseas customers. For more information please visit: http://www.bitc.co.bw/bedp-publication