How to Register a Foundation in Botswana

An NGO is a Non-governmental organization which means its activities or actions are not-for-profit. If an NGO interests you, read on to know how to start an NGO in Botswana.
The word NGO means a Non-Governmental Organization (“NGO”). It is a body or association of persons registered as “Incorporated Trustees” under Section 590 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap C20 Laws of the Federation 2010 for the advancement of any religious, educational, literary, scientific, social/cultural development, sporting, and charitable causes. An NGO is deemed a not-for-profit organization in Botswana.

The first option is to form a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act of Botswana. The second option is to form a society under the Societies Act. The third option is to register a trust under the Trust Property Control Act.

You have three options.  The first option is to form a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act of Botswana.  The second option is to form a society under the Societies Act. The third option is to register a trust under the Trust Property Control Act.  The choice depends on the sophistication of governance requirements.

This service registers non-profit making societies and non–governmental organizations. These include:

  1. Religious Organisations
  2. Professional Associations
  3. Burial Societies
  4. Recreational and Sporting Clubs
  5. Political Parties
  6. Charitable Organisations
  7. Others

How To Start An NGO In Botswana
Below are the necessary steps you need to follow to start an NGO in Botswana;

  • Have a plan
  • Choose your NGO name
  • Appoint the Trustee(s)
  • Consult an Accredited Solicitor
  • Drafting of the NGO Constitution
  • Drafting of the Minutes of the Meeting
  • Documentation of all incorporation documents
  • Submission and Filing
  • Open a Corporate Bank Account in the NGO Name

Who is eligible?

All citizens, residents, or visitors who form a society with at least twenty members are eligible for this service.

How do I get this service?

In order to access this service, applicants must complete the following steps:

  • Submit a letter of intent and relevant documents (listed below) to the local Civil and National Registration offices (contact information listed below)
  • Upon receipt of the letter of intent, the Registrar will send the following to the applicant(s) for completion:
  1. Form A to be completed in triplicate
  2. Membership list
  3. Guidelines for forming the Society’s constitution (3 copies to be submitted)
  4. Complete and submit the above three items to the local Civil and National Registration offices
  5. After the successful screening of the submitted documents, the Registrar will issue a certificate, Form A, and the constitution as approved by the society

What supporting documents are required?

  • Letter of intent to form a society
  • Minutes of the formation of the society with three or more objectives
  • List of signatures and national identity numbers of attendees at the formation of society meeting
  • Ten suggested names for the society in order of preference. The names should be reflective of the nature of the society whether it is an association, club, church, or society
  • In the case of non-citizens serving on the executive committee, provide the following:
  1. Certified copies of resident permit
  2. Certified work permit
  3. A certified copy of pages 1 and 2 of their passport, showing their picture and personal details should also be submitted

How long will this service take?

Fourteen (14) days to complete.

How much does it cost?

The service costs BWP 500.00 for associations and churches, and BWP250.00 for all other societies. These costs are non-refundable.

Where can I obtain this service?

All Civil and National Registration Offices across the country

Department of Civil and National Registration

Head Office, Block 8, Government Enclave,

Khama Crescent, Private Bag 00240, Gaborone, Botswana

Tel. (+267)361 1400

Fax. (+267) 395 9998

Toll-Free Number. 0800 600 777

Opening hours: 7:30 to 12:45, and 13:45 to 16:30, Monday to Friday, except public holidays.

Benefits of starting an NGO in Botswana
1. Right to Acquire Assets
An NGO that is formally registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission is entitled to acquire land, own fixed assets, and/or incur liabilities under its common seal.
2. Corporate Entity
As a corporate body, an NGO’s dealings and engagements with the public improve. If you start and register an NGO, you can sue to enforce its legal rights or be sued through its registered trustees.
3. Structured Financial Plan
Since NGOs are deemed not-for-profit and tax exempted, starting an NGO can afford a tax-free mechanism for activities you are carrying on under the NGO. You can develop a structured financial plan called “tax avoidance” that allows the organization to do business devoid of tax liabilities. Tax avoidance is a legitimate way of reducing or eliminating your tax obligation. However, Tax avoidance is not “tax evasion” which is illegal!
4. Access to Credit
A Registered NGO can afford access to credit from lenders and financial institutions. You can use a loan facility to promote the organization’s activities, finance a mortgage, or acquire land or fixed assets. Banks will also want to see proof of registration with the right Authority as a condition precedent to giving a loan.
5. Banking
Having an NGO makes it less easy to open a corporate account with a bank in Botswana. Having a corporate account for your NGO signals the fact that you are transparent. This is because some private persons, government, donor agencies, and other NGOs won’t be interested to write you a cheque for your organization in your personal name. A corporate bank account for your NGO would signal its corporate existence and its readiness to receive donations.

What is the process of registering a foundation?

How to start an NGO in Nigeria: Registering a Foundation with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)

  1. Devise a plan. To start an NGO, you need to devise a plan and write about your organization’s beliefs, mission, and purpose.
  2. Select a name for your Foundation.
  3. Appoint the Trustee(s).
  4. Consult an Accredited Solicitor.

Can I start a foundation without registration?

In principle, an NGO does not have to register itself to perform charitable, welfare, or developmental activities. However, there are some specific types of activities that can only be carried out if the NGO is registered under the country’s specific acts or laws governing NGOs (particularly related to fund-raising).

How can I start a non-governmental organization in Botswana?

Submit a letter of intent and relevant documents (listed below) to the local Civil and National Registration offices (contact information listed below)
These include:

  1. Religious Organisations.
  2. Professional Associations.
  3. Burial Societies.
  4. Recreational and Sporting Clubs.
  5. Political Parties.
  6. Charitable Organisations.
  7. Others.

How do I form an association in Botswana?

Apply In-Person

Form A which you should complete in triplicate and signed by two office-bearers of the society. Membership list. Guidelines for forming the Society’s constitution (submit three copies of the constitution)