Manufacturing and Trading Licences (Effective Date 1st June 2020)


Industrial Development Act of Botswana (Cap 43:01) regulates (1) manufacturing licences (2) registration of manufacturers and (3) exemption from registration.   When you manufacture arms, ammunition, pharamaceticals, maize milling, medicines, hides and skins which is governed by different Acts or when you manufacture goods regulated by Botswana Vaccine Institute or Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority or Department of Mines (and Minerals), this Act does not apply.  This Act does not apply to Botswama Meat Commission.

No one can manufacture any goods that affect public safety and public health without getting a licence from the Director of Industrial Affairs.  The director may give conditional licence and these conditions can relate to place or products or process. 

If one would like to manufacture goods in Botswana that does not affect public health or public safety, then there is no need for industrial licence but there is a need for registration. 

If you are a micro (sales less than P 100,000 and employees less than 6 including ownere) or a small (sales less than P 1.5 million and employees less than 25) manufacturer then there is no need for registration because you are exempt from registration.  But you have to apply for exemption.  This is the summary position:-

No Type of Authority Conditions
01 Industrial Licence given by the Director of Industrial Affairs Manufacturing process should affect public safety and public health
02 Registration Certificate Manufactuirng process does not affect public safety and public health although workers safety and health issues are affected. 
03 Exemption Certificate from Regisgration  Micro manufacturers (selling less than P 100,001 and having less than 6 employees including the owner) and Small manufacturers (selling less than P 1,500,001 and having less than 25 employees)


In other words,

  1. Manufacturers with a turnover of more than P 1.5 million and more than 25 employees should apply for
    1. Registration Certificate where the process does not affect public health or public safety.
    2.  Manufacturing Licence where the process affects public health and public safety.
  2. Sometimes manufacturers will have more than P 1.5 million turnover but will employ less than 25 employees.  Or they will employ more than 25 but will have a turnover of less than P 1.5 million.  In either case, the reply is the same as (1) above, meaning they should have Registration Certificate or Manufacturing Licence, as the case may be based on public health and public safety issues.
  3. Sometimes manufacturers will have both less than P 1.5 million sales and at the same time they will employ less than 25 people.   They are called small manufacturers.  Small manufacturers include micro manufacturers who sell P 100,000 or less annually and at the same time employ 6 or less people including the owner.  These micro and small manufacturers are exempt from having to apply for Registration Certificate.  But they should apply for the exemption certificate.

Manufacturing Activities Reserved for Citizens

Following manufacturing activities are reserved for citizens of Botswana or companies wholly owned.  This means that a foreigner is not allowed to apply for manufacturing licences for the following industrial activities.  Size does not matter.

  1. Bread and confectionery
  2. Ice Making
  3. Meat Processing
  4. Peanut Butter
  5. Purification and bottling of water
  6. Traditional Sour Milk
  7. Sorghum

Registration Certificates Reserved for Citizens

Following registrations (meaning exemptions from industrial licence) are reserved for citizens. 

  1. Bricks
  2. Burglar bars, gates and windows
  3. Candles
  4. Fencing materials
  5. Floor polish
  6. Packaging
  7. Protective clothing
  8. Roof trusses
  9. School furniture
  10. School uniforms
  11. Screen printing and embroidery
  12. Signage, including electronic signage
  13. Trading crafts
  14. Traditional leather products

Retrospective Effect

Non-citizens may hold currently manufacturing licences under the repealed Act until they fall due for renewal.  When it comes to renewal, the expectation of the Director of Industrial Affairs, in our opinion, should be that these reserved licences will be renewed under joint venture arranagements. 



This following chart is a brief summary of amendments to Trade Act effective 1st June 2020.


Businesses Is Business Registration Cerficate required Is Trading Licence Requited Is it Reserved for Citizens
Agent Yes   yes
Agricultural Shop   Yes  
Amusement Yes    
Auctioneer Yes   Yes
Car Wash Yes   Yes
Cleaning Services yes   yes
Commercial Hardware Yes    
Cosmetic Shop   Yes  
Curio Shop Yes   Yes
Departmental Store Yes    
Distributor Yes    
Driller Yes    
Dry cleaning depot Yes   Yes
Dry Cleaning Yes    
Florist Yes   Yes
Fresh Produce   Yes Yes
Funeral Parlour   Yes Yes
General Dealer Yes   Yes
General Hire Yes   Yes
Gymnasium   Yes  
Hair and Beauty Parlour   Yes Yes
Imported Preowned Motor Dealer Yes   Yes
Industrial Hardware Yes    
Internet Cafe or Copy Shop Yes   Yes
Laundromat Yes   Yes
Optician Shop   Yes  
Pharmacy or Chemist   Yes  
Plant Hire Yes    
Platnt Nursery Yes    
Restaurant   Yes  
Sun Glass Shop Yes    
Supermarket Yes    
Takeaway   yes yes
Wholesale yes    
Workshop Yes