As is the case with its competitors in the region, Botswana, through its Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA), failed to reach the inbound investment target for 2010.
The agency, headed by Jacob Nkate, had set itself a goal of bringing investment worth P105 million, but a wide range of factors acted against the set target as only a quarter of that was achieved.
It only managed to attract investment worth P26 million during the year.
Nkate blamed the low performance from an array of challenges, including stiff competition from peers in attracting inbound investment.
Botswana competes directly with countries, amongst others South Africa, Namibia and Mauritius, for the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
However, the former cabinet minister expressed comfort on the ongoing projects that will come to fruition within the next 24 months that include Glass Manufacturing and Steel Manufacturing projects in Palapye and Pan African Summit and JJ Cable manufacturing in Block 8.
BEDIA is an autonomous private sector-led organisation mandated by an Act of Parliament to encourage, promote and facilitate the establishment of export-oriented enterprises and selected services, which will result in economic diversification, rapid economic growth and creation of sustained employment opportunities.
It is also given the mandate of identifying market outlets for locally manufactured products and construct factory building for setting up of manufacturing enterprises while also working with government to ensure that the country has a conducive investment climate.
Nkate said as the world slowly creeps out of the tight grip of the global recession, BEDIA is looking forward to better investment climate in the coming year.
Delivering the Q3 media briefing, Nkate was bullish on the country’s exports as the country made progress, unlike in the previous periods.
The manufactured goods managed to access markets, particularly in the Sub-Saharan region and even in further markets like United States.
Initially, BEDIA had set an annual target of P258 million for the exports and by September P247 million worth of transactions had been concluded.
With this favourable outcome, Nkate said, “By the end of the year we expect that we would have exceeded the set target of P258 million.”
He said targets are set basing on the previous year’s performance. “We increase the target by 20 percent as an improvement in performance,” he said.
Nkate also revealed that the nation branding exercise has settled well, adding that the process of registering the brand for international usage in chosen markets is currently underway with the first phase completed.
Brand Botswana is currently on brand awareness campaign and is traveling, addressing full district councils as well as talking to political leaders about the brand.
Contrary to criticism, the BEDIA boss also stated that the Global Expo was a success as it managed to have 200 exhibitors against the set target of 237 with over 5000 visiting the expo this year, although it is lower that the set mark of 6000 people.
He also appraised that the acquisition for land is currently underway and at least 27 companies have forwarded their applications for land and 17 companies have been granted whilst 6 applications are being processed.
Since this year, BEDIA has been receiving negative publicity, but a defiant Nkate said: “we are pushing ahead with the forensic audit investigations, to clear everything and move forward.”