Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Botswana foreign ownership rules

Botswana is one of our favoured markets from the perspective of the top down assesment. There are, however, a few rules and regulations that we have to be aware of, although significntly fewer than in many other frontier economies.

In Botswana permission is required for more than 5% ownership from the stock exchange. There are no restrictions on the ownership of listed companies by foreigners as exchange controls were fully abolished in February 1999. Without further reference to the Bank of Botswana, non-resident cannot own more than 49% of the capital of a public company.

Foreign investment is restricted in a number of areas, including manufacture of school furniture, welding and bricklaying, hawkers and vendors, butchery and produce, petrol filling stations, bars and liquor stores, supermarkets, and retail, but these restrictions are easily circumvented in most cases. Most utilities, telecommunications, postal services, water, railways, and agriculture are closed to private investment. These restrictions are not a meaningful impediment to serious foreign investment.

Interest earned by non-residents is charged at a 15% withholding tax, double taxation is avoided with some countries.

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