Botswana has come a long way since its independence in 1966, with Real GDP growth between 4% to 8% that has been consistently above worldwide averages despite a history of low Real GDP per capita.
This country has a small population, loosely packed around the 581,739 square kilometres that contain cities, Bushveld and Kalahari. Botswana has achieved impressive service exports and imports with Australia, totalling A$25 million.
Australia mainly imports infrastructure and commodity resources from Botswana and in return export civil engineering equipment, telecom equipment, measuring and analysing instruments, and electrical circuits equipment to Botswana.
Australia is Botswana’s 23rd highest import source according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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Should you use a bank or money transfer company for sending money to Botswana?
Before studying further, Bongi wants to take a gap and think about where he is headed in life. He has decided to visit his grandparents in Gaborone, Botswana and lodge there whilst doing some part-time work and figuring life out.
Bongi draws up the following comparison table to visualise the differences in using different money transfer companies when sending 1,000 AUD in preparation of his trip. He couldn’t find any data for sending money through his bank but plans on visiting his local bank to see what it would work out to.
Bongi uses the following variable when comparing services to send and receive money between Botswana and Australia
Exchange Rates. Botswana has one of the more competitive exchange rates in Africa when compared to the USD and AUD. It is possible to receive USD as well and at a later stage exchange it for BWP at a local exchange bureau in Gaborone and Francistown.
Pickup Methods. International transfers can be made to a bank account or to an agent location for cash pickup. See below in the article for tips on picking up cash.
Fees. The fees for sending lower amounts tend to be higher than the fees for sending bigger amounts due to standard setup costs for money transfer companies. The fees will be lower in sending money for a cash pickup to Botswana than some other countries.
Bank to Bank Benefits. Citibank is the only bank that operates both in Australia and in Botswana. A visit to a branch near you will reveal more details about bank to bank transfers and benefits.
Turnaround Time. The turnaround time with the available services can range from a couple of minutes with a higher cost, to a couple of days with a lower cost. Fees range less than in sending to some other countries, so the quicker turnaround time can be worth the marginal extra cost.
Transfer Methods. For the available services, transfer methods range from phone, online accounts, agent or branches, bank to bank account and internet banking.
Transfer Options. Bongi’s parents will benefit from booking rates in advance and setting up recurring payments. They can also use once-off payments for emergency transfers.
Minimum/Maximum Transfer Amounts. Each company has its own minimums and maximums, with some of them not having either or not one. Western Union in some cases can have maximums up to 100,000 AUD.
Customer Service. With so many available services, customer service will help you choose the one you want. Three of the companies do cash pickups but only one does live chat support that can be vital in the case of an emergency.
How can you send money to Botswana from Australia?
Money transfer services - you can use the following services when sending money to Botswana: Compass Global Markets, MoneyGram, TorFX, Western Union and WorldFirst.
Banks - Citibank stretches into the Botswana regions with its banking solutions and Commonwealth Bank will allow you to send an international money transfer to Botswana. Western Union and Moneygram can send money to a bank account as well once Bongi has set up a bank account in Botswana.
What options do you have to receive money from Botswana in Australia?
Money transfer services - visit a local Moneygram or Western Union agent in Botswana to send money for cash pickup in Australia.
Banks - receive money in your Commonwealth Bank or Citibank account by using a local agent or online money transfer services that will send money from Botswana to Australia.
Tips for picking up cash in the hubs of activity in Botswana
Sending money to Botswana is fairly simple as much of the economic buzz is situated around Gaborone and some of it around Francistown.
Botswana has a reputation for being one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, but it is still advised to double-check the area in which you will be picking up money.
The country might be fairly peaceful compared to the wildlife in the Kalahari districts in Botswana, but it is never smart to wave around your fresh wads of cash you just picked up. Take along a tracking number and photo ID when you pick up cash and don’t forget the copy or original transaction receipt for added safety.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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