The financial sector in Botswana is a growing industry, and the country's national stock market is among the best performing in Africa. The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) is based in the capital city of Gaborone, and some of the biggest companies doing business in the country are listed.
A number of global entities are investing in Botswana's economy, encouraged by its lack of exchange controls and fairly liberal economic policies.
Money in Botswana
The currency in Botswana is the Pula, abbreviated as BWP. There are 100 thebe to one pula. US dollars and euros are accepted in major hotels and other businesses that cater to international tourists, but expats should expect to use pula for all day-to-day transactions.
Notes: BWP 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200
Coins: BWP 1, 2 and 5; and 5, 10, 25 and 50 thebe
Currency can be exchanged at banks, licensed moneychangers, airport terminals and some hotels.
Banking in Botswana
The Bank of Botswana is the country's central bank, but a selection of local, regional and international banks are available too. This includes Bank Gaborone, First National Bank and Standard Chartered.
Expats living in Botswana tend to have a local account for daily expenses such as paying utility bills and buying groceries while keeping an offshore account for savings.
Expats can open a personal account at any of the Botswana banks with ease. Most banks offer a full spectrum of services that include debit and credit cards, online banking and specialised investment services.
Banking hours in Botswana are usually 9am to 3pm or 3.30pm from Monday to Friday, with some branches open on Saturday mornings.
Expats shouldn’t have a problem finding English-speaking tellers or consultants at banks in Botswana. Language in Botswana shouldn't pose a major culture shock to expats who speak English.
Credits cards and ATMs
Some major international credit cards are widely accepted in Botswana – these include Visa and Mastercard. Expats carrying American Express and Diners Club cards may not be able to use these. Many petrol stations and some shops outside of the cities still only accept cash, so it’s useful for expats to carry pula with them at all times.
Bank branches are plentiful, especially near busy shopping areas. ATMs are just as widely available in Botswana's cities, and most larger stores accept debit and credit cards.
Taxes in Botswana
The tax system in Botswana changes often and can be tricky for an expat to navigate on their own. For this reason, we encourage foreigners to a hire a specialist with detailed knowledge of Botswana’s tax system and working with expats.
The tax year in Botswana runs from 1 July to 30 June. Returns are typically due within 90 days after the end of the tax year, unless an extension is requested.
Generally, expats will have to pay taxes in Botswana if:
their permanent place of abode is in Botswana
they have been physically present in Botswana for at least 183 days during the tax year
they earn an income from sources in Botswana
Thanks to Botswana's double taxation agreements with several countries, some expats may be eligible for foreign tax relief. This list includes expats from France, India, Namibia, South Africa, the UK and Zimbabwe, among other countries.
Are you an expat living in Botswana?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Botswana. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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