Economic uncertainties are keeping Botswana's textile industry teetering on the brink, with its exports falling hard, despite a BWP38m (US$4.5m) government stimulus package spent during and after 2010.

The latest export figures from the Botswana ministry of trade and industry show the country netted a paltry US$41m in textile exports during the first quarter of 2012.

This is down from US$226m in all of 2011, raising concerns the sector has fallen into commercial difficulties.

Komissa Burzlaff, head of public affairs at the Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), told just-style: "It must be noted that even though the economy has been recovering, it has been doing so at a slow rate, and unfortunately forecasts for 2012 and 2013 are bleak, so this may in turn affect the textile sector."

"This industry simply cannot rely on the Botswana market," she said - the country's population is just 2m.

"Hence, all the efforts made to ensure the ease of doing business, market access, and reducing or entirely removing existing trade barriers," she added.

Thus far, she insisted there had not been significant job losses in the Botswana textile industry, whose 2011 performance was an improvement on 2010, when just US$139m was exported in the entire year.