Gaborone – Businesses in Botswana say they are seeing a ray of light in the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, though there is still a tough slog ahead.
According to a Bank of Botswana survey, firms in the trade, hotels, restaurants, transport, communications and finance sectors were cautiously optimistic about economic prospects in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter.
“The perceived improvement in economic performance in the current survey compared to the previous one is associated with the less stringent COVID-19 travel restrictions and continued business operations in several sectors,” the central bank notes in its survey.
It says optimism among domestic market-oriented firms improved markedly in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the second quarter of 2021, reflecting continued efforts to reopen businesses and resume activities that were postponed or restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The central bank says the level of optimism rises further in the twelve-month period to June 2022, consistent with anticipated continued domestic economic recovery. “Firms, predominantly in the mining and quarrying and the trade, hotels, restaurants, transport and communications sectors, expect to increase output as trade conditions improve,” the report says.
However, the Bank of Botswana says COVID-19 containment measures negatively affected business operations in the second quarter of 2021, with the hardest hit being the same sectors that are optimistic about growth in coming quarters.
In general, firms anticipate that their businesses will fully recover from the impact of COVID-19 a year after June 2021.
Firms expect GDP to increase by 3.2 percent and 3.7 percent in the second and third quarters of 2021.
Third quarter growth in 2021 is consistent with anticipated improvement in business conditions globally, though the recovery is threatened by the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 and gaps in supplies of vaccines to developing countries.