The African Development Bank (AfDB) has joined forces with development financial institutions across the continent to rollout interventions that could see tables turning for economies that remain un-diversified.
In Botswana, AFDB has issued a thematic Line of Credit of P900 Million to Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) that is expected to boost the non-minerals sectors and ultimately diversify the economy.
The pan African development bank is said to have set criteria for the type of projects that are to be funded. BDC says the projects are in sectors that are to expand the economy of Botswana.
Boitshwarelo Lebang – BDC’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy says local companies that are going to benefit from the AFDB credit line must meet the criteria set by the bank.
“AFDB has criteria set for the type of projects that are to be funded – these are projects in sectors that are to expand the economy of Botswana. Companies that would be funded would first and foremost have to meet this criterion of economic transformation and then go through our standard investment appraisal. The LoC will support the Corporations’ long-term strategy to scale up its investments in key sectors including manufacturing, transport and service sectors with the overall objective of supporting the transformation and industrialisation of the Botswana economy”, said Lebang on Friday.
Botswana has in the past received many calls on the need to disentangle her economic diversification and track it with monitoring and evaluation of programmes.
With high rural share of employment and potential for broad-based employment impact, the agriculture sector has been identified as critical for diversification and poverty alleviation in the country.
Meanwhile Lebang said as part of the AFDB financing, the bank will provide support in form of a grant to be provided by Affirmative Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) to give access to finance for women enterprises.
Lebang said the BDC will follow its usual appraisal method in selecting companies. Botswana’s youth and women are currently wallowing in unemployment – with women also at the receiving end of gender-based violence and other forms of social stigmas. Only time will tell if partnership like the BDC/AFDB one will result in wider socioeconomic benefit including attracting investments into the economy and employment creation.