Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi last week revealed that government has placed reforming the local business environment top on its priority list, as part of targeted initiatives geared at attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.
Speaking at the just ended Global Expo Botswana, which was hosted by Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Masisi reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring that it continuously improves the doing business environment in the country.
“The Doing Business Reform Roadmap for Botswana is tops on the list of high our priorities. This is a benchmark of what competitor countries are doing to improve their investment climate,” he said.
The reform process is intended to reduce government bureaucracy, eliminate unfriendly business laws and regulations, improve service delivery, reduce paper work as well as leverage on ICT applications.
Masisi said he expects initiatives in the Doing Business Reform Programme to reduce the cost and time of doing business, thereby improving the competitive edge of local businesses. He added that successful implementation of the Doing Business Reform Roadmap will place Botswana among the best performers in terms of doing business and global competitiveness.
Further, said Masisi, government is currently promoting economic diversification through investment promotion and attraction; export development and promotion; management of the national brand; domestic investment and expansion; as well as promotion of locally manufactured goods to regional and international markets.
“We have prioritized some sectors to drive our growth and diversification agenda, as well as contribute towards employment creation,” said Masisi.
He further revealed that government has established Special Economic Zones in eight (8) identified areas throughout the country, aimed at facilitating tourism and agriculture development, accelerated land servicing and infrastructure development as well as manufacturing.
“These provide yet another opportunity for domestic expansions, foreign direct investments and partnerships,” said the Vice President.
He hailed the Global Expo Botswana as a welcome project that provides an unmatched opportunity for the local business community to meet and develop strategic business partnerships with other business entities from all over the world. Such an initiative, he added, will maximize local businesses’ exposure to the international market and thus afford them opportunities to build new business relationships, introduce new products in the market, gain valuable insights on maximizing business sales, efficiency, team building and motivation as well as networking.
Also speaking at the expo, Siyanga Malumo, Chairman of AFI Corporate Advisors said FDI is key to accelerating economic development and diversification as it attracts incremental investment, infrastructure development and job creation into the economy. Malumo said there is need to create an enabling political, macro-economic, legal and regulatory environment as well as opportunity cost environment for FDI to prosper.
“On the regional perspectives, there should be regional integration that will facilitate regional projects, markets and a regional approach to banking and non-bank supervision. We should also strive for continental democratization,” he said.
He further explained that most private sector investments are influenced by variants such as high risk with a high reward philosophy and are thus driven by profits, success and efficiency. On the other hand, the public sector is more driven by public service or goods, political benefits, national development and also socio-economic progress. The expo was held under the theme Promoting Economic Diversification through Export Orientated Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Expansions.