The Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) will attend the second Brazil-Africa Forum in the city of Fortaleza next month. This follows a visit to Botswana by a high-level business delegation from Brazil that held a meeting with the BOCCIM president, Leta Mosienyane.
The Confederation’s, Chief Executive Officer, Maria Machailo-Ellis, says that it was during this visit that a special invitation was extended to BOCCIM to attend the two-day (August 28 and 29) Fortaleza Forum. She reveals that BOCCIM wants to engage with Brazil not just as a single entity but as part of BRICS – the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Africa and BRICS appear to be a match made in capitalist heaven.
“The mission of the Brazilian delegation was to promote partnership with African countries. Brazil is an emerging economy with potential for high growth and Africa is endowed with a lot of natural resources that can play a role in such growth,” Machailo-Ellis says.
At this point in time, there is no formal working relationship between BOCCIM and the Brazilian Confederation of Industry but Machailo-Ellis says that she hopes that the Fortaleza Forum will help foster such relationship.
“There is a lot we can learn from Brazil. Firstly, it is a huge and more developed economy. Secondly, it is part of BRICS and through it, we can get access to other BRICS countries. These countries provide a lot of opportunities for joint ventures and through these opportunities we can gain access to better technology, markets and skills. Within BRICS, Botswana already has a strong and long relationship with South Africa,” she says.
As underdeveloped is the economic and commercial relationship between Botswana and Brazil. The BOCCIM CEO says that while Botswana has made very pronounced effort to create linkages with European countries that has not been the case with Brazil. She is equally hopeful that the upcoming
Forum will help cement more concrete engagement between the two countries.
Themed “Infrastructure Partnerships and Development”, the Forum is organized by the Brazil-Africa institute. BOCCIM didn’t participate in the first that was held two years ago. Machailo-Ellis says that the BOCCIM head office in Gaborone has received lots of enquiries from members who are about the Forum and possible attendance. The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology will also be participating.