USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub helped to launch the first National Enquiry Point in Botswana on September 28, 2015. Under the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, each member nation must develop an effective National Enquiry Point (NEP) in order to increase trade. NEPs provide a “one-stop shop” where traders can receive crucial information for doing business with other WTO member countries.
For the past fourteen months, the Southern Africa Trade Hub worked closely with the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to ready this crucial trade facilitation resource. The National Enquiry Point in Botswana, the sixth in the region that has been launched with Trade Hub support, will benefit trade by identifying standards, technical regulations, and procedures to improve market access.
As US Ambassador to Botswana Earl Miller said in his address at the event held in Gaborone, “Removing trade barriers is an important part of the Trade Hub’s work in the SADC region. When resources like the National Enquiry Point help eliminate obstacles in trade flows, they ease the movement of commodities, which keeps costs reasonable for consumers and improves food security for Botswana’s population." Botswana's Minister of Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse gave the keynote address at the launch, thanking the US government for its support for Botswana's new National Enquiry Point, which included IT equipment, a benchmarking visit to Kenya's Bureau of Standards, and training for NEP officials.
On October 19, 2015 the Trade Hub supported BOBS to hold an awareness seminar on NEP in the country’s second largest city, Francistown.
Ambassador Earl Miller and Minister of Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse officially open the National Enquiry Point, housed at the Botswana Bureau of Standards in Gaborone