Banner 4
Select another country

Botswana’s competitive banking system is one of Africa’s most advanced. Generally adhering to global standards in the transparency of financial policies and banking supervision, the financial sector provides ample access to credit for entrepreneurs. The opening of Capital Bank in 2008 brought the total number of licensed banks to eight. The government is involved in banking through state-owned financial institutions and a special financial incentives program that is aimed at increasing Botswana’s status as a financial center. Credit is allocated on market terms, although the government provides subsidized loans. Reform of non-bank financial institutions has continued in recent years, notably through the establishment of a single financial regulatory agency that provides more effective supervision. The government has abolished exchange controls, and with the resulting creation of new portfolio investment options, the Botswana Stock Exchange is growing.

The Bank of Botswana is the central bank of Botswana and it has responsibility for maintaining monetary and financial stability in Botswana, underpinned by confidence in the national currency, sound banks and an effective payments system. The Bank of Botswana currently operates under the Bank of Botswana Act, 1996 (Cap 55:01). In addition to providing for the establishment of a central bank in Botswana, the Act describes the Bank’s constitution, powers and objectives, as well as its relationship with the Botswana Government. The Government is the Bank’s sole shareholder and to which the Bank is the chief adviser on financial matters. Ms. Linah Mohohlo has been the Governor of the Bank of Botswana since 1999.

A couple of issues face Botswana in the banking sector:

  • Botswana is dominated by foreign ownership and this will continue to remain an issue
  • Privatization is adding pressure to the banking sector for citizen owned banks to continue
  • Competition is increasing daily and will continue to increase
  • Profits are likely to remain high although the rate of profitability may not stay the same
  • Botswana is expensive by regional standards and will remain an issue especially while profits remain high

Botswana Banks

The commercial banks licensed to operate in Botswana are ABN AMRO, BancABC, Bank of Baroda, Bank Gaborone, Barclays Bank, Capital Bank, First National Bank, Stanbic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.


Botswana's currency, the pula (symbol: P, code: BWP), is fully convertible and is valued against a basket of currencies heavily weighted toward the South African Rand. Profits and direct investment can be repatriated without restriction from Botswana. The Botswana Government eliminated all exchange controls in 1999. The Central Bank devalued the Pula by 7.5% in February 2004 in a bid to maintain export competitiveness against the real appreciation of the Pula. There was a further 12% devaluation in May 2005 and the policy of a "Crawling peg" was adopted.

The Pula is subdivided into 100 thebe. Banknotes currently in circulation are 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 pula. The frequently used coins are 50 thebe and 1, 2 and 5 pula.

The inflation rate in 2009 was 8.1%. The pula per US$ rate is 7.4 (2010).

Back to top>