Botswana unveiled its brand last week with the aim of shoring-up its image in the globally competitive investor and tourist market but it remained concerned as to whether it has the capacity to attract the right kind of peopleÔÇöfrom the Ivy League.
Speaking at the launch, President Festus Mogae, urged the nation “to live the brand, breath the brand, walk the brand and to talk the brand”, adding that other countries are also developing and creating national brands.
“The world over, nations are developing and creating strong national brands and identities with which they communicate their respective visions, values and beliefs that defines them as a people,” Mogae said. “Botswana is no exception. As a progressive nation, we have no choice but to move with the times in embracing these opportunities and challenges whilst branding ourselves as a nation,” he said.
The move to come up with the Botswana brand started after releasing that very few people outside the country ÔÇô especially in the developed world ÔÇô know about Botswana or it’s a whereabouts.
That was followed up with the idea of a consultancy and national consultation as the Botswana Export Development Agency (BEDIA), was failing to attract the much sort after foreign investors.
The United Kingdom consultants recommended to BEDIA that it come up with a national brand to try to sensitise the international community about the existence of Botswana and its values.
“The rationale for the brand is to create and hold a vibrant picture in the minds of the people. The Botswana brand is therefore about strongly positioning Botswana locally and globally…”
The president talked at length about peace, prudent financial management, the process of consultation as some of the values of the nation which he said form part of the Botswana brand.
However, that sounded as part of a deliberate strategy to duck-out of the local bottle-necks, regional and international reality in trying to woo international investors and tourists.
Following a recent report showing that Botswana has slipped down in terms of competitiveness, experts said the problem was that it spends most of the time bragging about its peacefulness, forgetting that most African countries are now politically stable.
They suggested that the country makes some concrete moves such as removing the administrative red-tapes and reducing the costs of doing business in the country. Further, the country is also faced with the problem low productivity and is rigid in giving the deserving investors some incentives, unlike its neighbouring countries. As a result of that, the country has seen a number of would-be investors, including those who had been invited into the region by BEDIA, passing through only to set-up in neighbouring countries.
Further, Botswana needs to spend a lot of money on improving road conditionsÔÇöespecially in GaboroneÔÇöand aggressively work on ensuring that Air Botswana is reliable, expanding the airport and having long haul flights and keeping the capital city clean.