The minister of Trade and Industry, Neo Moroka, said that the level of investment and trade flows between Botswana and Singapore remain very low in spite of the fact that the two countries enjoy excellent relations and cooperation on many fronts at both bilateral and international levels.
Officiating at the Botswana-Singapore Business Seminar held at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) last week, Moroka stated that the seminar was a forum through which the business captains of the two countries could explore mutually beneficial win-win strategic business partnership opportunities.
“Its objective was to promote business endeavors aimed at diversifying investment portfolios and markets,” said Moroka. “It also aimed at increasing the market share in response to the global trend of borderless and network trade relations.”
Moroka said President Festus Mogae, who visited Singapore last November, invited the Singaporean business community in an effort to facilitate the enhancement of investment and trade flows between these two countries. The presence of the Singaporean business delegation, the Minister said, is evidence of a strong desire and commitment on the part of the governments of Botswana and Singapore to place the growth of investment and trade flows between the two countries on an upward bound path.
Moroka further said that the dictates of the increasingly difficult environment in which enterprises operate, make forging strategies in business partnerships one of the indispensable schemes in achieving and maintaining an edge over competitors.
“It is for this reason that your business should leverage such partnerships to efficiently and competitively fend for themselves in the world’s globalized markets.”
The Minister said the government looks to private investors to progressively generate innovative ideas for creating sustainable investment and trade growth opportunities.
“We also look to you for wealth and socio-economic prosperity for the benefit of Singapore and Botswana,” he said, adding that on their part, as Government, they remain fully committed to continuously work in partnership with Singapore. He said the intension is to create an environment in which enterprises and the private sector in general can take root and flourish.
The Vice Chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, M. Rajaram said that Botswana has plenty of opportunities and resources with first class infrastructures.
“What I saw in Botswana business people is the freshness, people who are willing and eager to learn how Singaporeans work, and come up with the linkage,” he said, adding that for too long, many countries have been looking west, and now is the time to look east. Rajaram said the year 2008 is for Asia, and Botswana “can participate and grow together with the Asian countries.”
Also attending the conference was BEDIA Chief Executive Officer, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, who told those in attendance that very little is known about Botswana but with seminars such as the one they were attending, they wanted to create a pool of knowledge and cultivate a platform for business people.
“Business people should know that businesses talk to each other, therefore, with these kinds of seminars, we want to encourage them to learn from others.”