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Working in Botswana?

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Jonathan Brown

Living in Botswana, from the UK

"As an expat in Gaborone & beyond, I learned to love Botsuana's treasures and would like to share my love for my second home with you. "

Melanie Rasbery

Living in Botswana, from the USA

"Gaborone's a comparatively small African metropolis, but I still needed help from expats and locals to relocate and settle in. "

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Botswana at a Glance

Working in Botswana

Botswana is nowadays one the fastest growing economies in Africa, slowly becoming a middle-income country. While divers industries and leading sectors offer various opportunities for working in Botswana, don't forget to read up on work permits and taxation, too!

There are some good opportunities for expatriates wanting to work in Botswana. There are a number of websites that expats can use to look for jobs, including  university and government websites, which typically include job postings.

Economic Overview

Botswana is the largest producer of diamonds in the world, and the industry is governed by the Department of Mines. The largest diamond mining company, Debswana, is 50% owned by the government and the mining of minerals provides roughly 40% of total government revenues and 62% of exports. Nickel, copper and gold are also mined and make up a considerable percentage of exports.

It can be said that Botswana is an independence success story, having transformed itself from one of the poorest nations in the world to a middle-income country since becoming independent in 1966. The country has a well-respected financial industry and the Botswana Stock Exchange is said to be one of Africa’s best performing stock exchanges.

Tourism, too, plays a key role in Botswana, contributing 12% of the Gross Domestic Product. Foreigners come from all over the world to experience the safari of the Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and Chobe National Park.

Work Permits for Botswana

The Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs (MLHA) processes all work permits for expatriates who want to work in Botswana. When a job advert is placed, for the first 14 days, the application is open to Batswana citizens only. Following that period, the advert can be used as proof to apply for a work permit. Expatriates who have had an offer of work will need the contract of employment, offer letter, relevant certificates, medical records, and identification to be able to apply for a permit. Similar paperwork is required for expats applying to become an investor in Botswana.

Taxation in Botswana

Botswana operates a source-based taxation system; that is to say, any income that is deemed to have been earned within the country is taxable. This covers any earnings from employment, business profits, passive income, or capital gains. Any income that expatriates receive that is deemed as being sourced outside of Botswana, if taxed by another jurisdiction that has a double taxation avoidance agreement with Botswana, is credited back at the amount of tax payable in Botswana. There are some exemptions that are noted on the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) website.

There is no capital duty, stamp duty, capital acquisitions, net worth or social security tax for individuals. The only other taxation is a ‘real property tax’, also known as ‘rates’ for property owners, and an inheritance or estate tax.

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