Sunday, November 29, 2020

BEMA, BITC deal to boost exports

After years of contending with tough operating conditions and limited export opportunities, local manufacturers could finally gain access to new markets after the signing of an agreement that could grant them access to high value export markets.

The Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers’ Association (BEMA) and the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) recently formalised their working relationship that economic commentators believe will promote trade and export opportunities. The signing was hailed by pundits as a step in the right direction that will ensure that the two organisations complement each other and work together to boost trade and exports. The two organizations previously had a long standing relationship that dates back to BITC’s predecessor, BEDIA.

However, the collaborative agreement was reviewed with a view to intensifying actualisation of export deliverables; facilitate standardized processes, policies and procedures for use by clients to and from both organisations. Now that the two organizations have delivered on the promise, it remains to be seen how their collaboration will improve the operating environment and accelerate the readiness of local producers for export markets.  

BEMA uses membership subscriptions to empower members with trade skills that enable them to penetrate export markets whereas BITC offers export development and promotion services to qualifying companies, for example those who make a minimum annual turnover of P500, 000. 

While the two organizations differ in structure, they share a common intent and interest to grow local manufacturing plants through export development. BEMA President Nkosi Mwaba said in an interview with The Telegraph BEMA members stand to benefit from the solid working relationship. 

“The more we deliver for our members, the more effective and attractive we will become. If we are able to attract large numbers then our voice will be stronger,” he said.

The renewed working relationship between BEMA and BITC is a welcomed initiative that will facilitate a timely response to the imminent threats faced by local manufacturers. Local producers are currently fending off pressure brought about by recent currency turmoil in South Africa. Local manufacturers are also facing tough competition from South African imports, which are cheaper because of the strength of the Pula against the Rand.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.