As a firm specialising in market research and data analysis through surveys, feasibility studies and polls, among others, we hope to bring valuable insights through today’s article as we focus on statistics pertaining to beverage imports as reported in a Statistics Botswana publication recently.
Botswana’s total imports were valued at P6.1billion during the month of April 2023. In this amount, food imports contributed P1.1billion, representing 17.8 percent. Beverages, Spirits and Vinegar topped the food import bill in April 2023, accounting for a whopping 34.6 percent of food imports. Within the Beverages, Spirits, and Vinegar chapter, the most imported commodity was bottled water (including mineral, aerated, sweetened, or flavoured), accounting for 60.4 percent. Beer made from malt followed with a contribution of 14.0 percent, and the rest constituted other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Water business – a low-hanging fruit
The basic economic argument is that a normally functioning economy which is at peace with outsiders and within itself usually imports commodities to supplement local production. In 2018, the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry issued a directive to ban importation of bottled natural and mineral water. The move was to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of the domestic water bottling sector and stimulate investment in the sector, which would in turn lead to job creation and poverty reduction.
However, data from Statistics Botswana show rising water imports, an indication that the local industry is still far from meeting the demand. If the current position is maintained, it therefore means that on a monthly basis, Botswana is exporting 60.4 percent of jobs through bottled water to neighbouring countries and importing inflation of the same proportions.
Projections indicate that the bottled water market in Botswana is set to increase at a CAGR of 4.93 percent per annum. For a middle-income economy such as Botswana, bottled water production is thus a low-hanging fruit which should be capitalised to help the nation manage its current account and create employment. On the other hand, Botswana’s beer imports made from malt totalled 14 percent of the beverages, which could be a sign that the country is almost satisfying the national needs and that the imports are likely as a result of exotic beers that cannot be made locally because of trademarks, copyright laws and or secret recipes.
Research is key
Although much has to be done to reconsider what items on the import bill can be supplied locally, Botswana is faring pretty well in terms of food and beverage imports when compared to surrounding economies. Africa is said to have the fastest growing population in the world, and with such growing populations, the demand for food and beverages will also continue to increase and thus opportunities to grow businesses.
Currently, about 1.3 billion people live in Africa. By 2050, this number is expected to increase to about 2.5 billion. In addition, the middle class is expected to grow to about 582 million people by 2030. Beverage producers in Botswana may leverage the growth prospects of Africa and directly supply products to other economies, thus increasing their revenue base and market share.
We hope that this article was insightful and that it demonstrated the importance of market research or data in business decision-making. As stated above, we offer market research and data analysis through surveys, feasibility studies and polls, among other data-related services.
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