The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Peggy Serame, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) participated in eight (8) international fairs and expositions with the aim of exposing Botswana companies to opportunities in external markets. BITC conducts such exercises as part of its efforts to develop and promote export capacity of local businesses, the result of which enabled it to facilitate exports to the value of about P1.7 billion which was generated out of 27 products sold to 19 markets.
With specific regard to the locally hosted exhibition fair, the Global Expo Botswana, Serame noted that “a total of 202 exhibitors took part from 15 countries, compared to the previous year’s 158 exhibitors,” adding that “this represents a 28 percent increase on the exhibitor figure of 2014. Global Expo Botswana 2015 received a total of 2 411 visitors compared to 3 933 in 2014,” she highlighted. Serame stated in addition that the expo injected more than P5 million into the economy during a four day period from 24th to 27th November 2015 compared to P3.6 million realised from the three days of the 2014 Expo. “This relates to expenditure by participants on items such as hotel accommodation, food and transport”.
Serame spoke of continuing efforts to engage in trade negotiations at both regional and international level with a view of integrating the local economy into the global village. She added that the completed Southern African Development Community (SADC)-European (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will be signed in Kasane, Botswana on the 10th June, 2016. She said the agreement guarantees duty-free and Quota-free market access for both Botswana agricultural and industrial goods to the EU.
“BITC continues to promote Botswana to global audiences as the preferred investment destination in the world,” she stated.
“Botswana ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in June, 2015. This Agreement will assist in enhancing the free flow of goods and services between countries by addressing measures that impede trade,” she said.
In regional matters relating to trade, Serame mentioned that the special ministerial retreat which had been scheduled for May is anticipated to address contentious issues which resulted in a deadlock such as the establishment of the SACU tariff board, formulation of the common industrial policy for SACU, and the review of the revenue sharing formula.
In value, BITC’s total investment during the 2015/16 financial year amounted to P2.97 billion, constituted by P1.36 billion in Foreign Direct Investment, P1.24 billion in Domestic Investment, and P370 million in expansions of existing investments.