Botswana’s Tea Trade: Exports and Imports

Tea, a beloved and time-honored beverage enjoyed by millions worldwide, has also been a significant player in Botswana’s international trade. In 2021, Botswana demonstrated its active involvement in the global tea market, serving as both an exporter and importer of this aromatic and cherished product.

Tea Imports Exports

Tea Exports from Botswana

In 2021, Botswana’s tea exports reached a value of $5.36 thousand, positioning the country as the 155th largest tea exporter in the world. While tea didn’t occupy the top spot among Botswana’s export commodities, it still held a respectable position, ranking as the 549th most exported product from the country. Botswana’s tea found its way to various destinations, contributing to the nation’s participation in the global tea market.

Among the primary destinations for Botswana’s tea exports were South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, Namibia, and Trinidad and Tobago. South Africa emerged as the leading recipient, importing tea worth $4.84 thousand from Botswana. Zimbabwe followed with $117, while Australia, Namibia, and Trinidad and Tobago also played significant roles, importing tea valued at $107, $76, and $44, respectively.

One fascinating aspect of Botswana’s tea export market was the notable growth observed in certain destinations between 2020 and 2021. South Africa, Australia, and Trinidad and Tobago were the fastest-growing export markets for Botswana during this period. South Africa, in particular, displayed remarkable growth with an increase of $4.73 thousand in tea imports from Botswana. Australia followed suit with $107, while Trinidad and Tobago showed promising growth with $44 in additional tea imports.

ContinentCountryTrade Value
AfricaSierra Leone40
AfricaSouth Africa4,841
AsiaSouth Korea22
AsiaSri Lanka6
EuropeUnited Kingdom13
North AmericaCanada3
North AmericaTrinidad and Tobago44
North AmericaUnited States14
Table: Where Does Botswana Export Its Tea (2021)

Tea Imports to Botswana

In contrast to its tea exports, Botswana’s tea imports were substantial in 2021, amounting to $7.7 million. This positioned the country as the 92nd largest importer of tea in the world that year, and tea ranked as the 136th most imported product in Botswana. The demand for tea within the country was evident, as it relied heavily on imports to meet domestic consumption.

South Africa, a prominent tea producer, emerged as the primary source of tea imports for Botswana, accounting for the majority of the import value. In 2021, Botswana imported tea worth $6.57 million from South Africa. Malawi followed as a distant second, supplying $837 thousand, while Zimbabwe, China, and Sri Lanka also played significant roles in the tea import market, contributing with $177 thousand, $64 thousand, and $15.5 thousand, respectively.

Similar to the export market, Botswana’s tea imports also experienced remarkable growth in specific markets between 2020 and 2021. South Africa, Zimbabwe, and China were the fastest-growing import markets for tea in Botswana during this period. Notably, Botswana witnessed a substantial increase of $322 thousand in tea imports from South Africa, followed by Zimbabwe with $86 thousand, and China with $53.1 thousand.

ContinentCountryTrade Value
AfricaSouth Africa6,573,930
AsiaUnited Arab Emirates102
AsiaHong Kong24
AsiaSri Lanka15,492
AsiaSaudi Arabia3
EuropeUnited Kingdom738
North AmericaCanada25
North AmericaUnited States9,301
Table: Where Does Botswana Import Its Tea (2021)


Tea remains an essential aspect of Botswana’s international trade, with the country actively participating as both an exporter and importer. While Botswana exports tea to neighboring countries and beyond, it relies significantly on imports to satisfy the domestic demand for this beloved beverage.

South Africa, as a neighboring tea-producing nation, plays a pivotal role in Botswana’s tea trade, serving as the primary source of imports. Additionally, countries like Zimbabwe and China have also emerged as vital partners for both Botswana’s tea exports and imports.

As Botswana continues to engage in the global tea market, fostering strategic trade relationships and monitoring market trends will be crucial to leverage its position as a tea trader. With proper planning and sustained efforts, Botswana can navigate the tea trade landscape effectively, promoting economic growth and sharing the joy of tea with its people and the world.

Data: BACI

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