The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, has said that it is very important for Botswana to benchmark from other countries to find out the strategies they have put in place to turn their cities into investment centers.
Addressing the recent Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) Annual Gala Dinner in Francistown, the Minister said that countries like South Africa have growth and development strategies for different cities where specific strategies are used to expand particular areas.
“It may be helpful for us as a country to benchmark with other countries to find out what strategies they have employed to turn their cities into investment centres. I also understand that China reinvented itself and became a global leader in trade through implementing business strategies for different cities, by determining each city’s key strength, attractiveness and ensuring implementation of long term sustainable projects,” he said.
However, the Minister lauded the city of Francistown for establishing the District Productivity Improvement and Development Forum (DPIF), an organization mandated with enhancing service delivery and productivity in the city. He said that such a move will uplift its image to potential investors and tourists within its set target of the year 2022.
“This would be an appropriate foundation in transforming Francistown into an investment centre, a vibrant, dynamic and attractive city to live and work in,” he said.
Matambo also said that Francistown has a high potential in the tourism, manufacturing and agriculture sectors as it is a gateway to two countries being Zimbabwe and Zambia. He said that the fact that there is a railway line that links the city to Bulawayo and Harare in Zimbabwe and a surface road that links it to Zambia gives it much potential for growth.
“Francistown has available and readily accessible amenities and facilities of convenience. These are some of the strengths that can transform Francistown in achieving its goal of attracting investors,” the Minister added.
Matambo reminded the participants that Botswana’s economy, just like the rest of the world, has not been doing very well as a result of the global recession.
“Global economic recovery continues to be sluggish. This then calls for belt tightening on government spending,” he said.
He encouraged the private sector to diversify its opportunities away from the government budget by looking at production for export.
The BOCCIM Gala Dinner was held under the theme, “Public, Private and Non Governmental Organizations partnership to transform the city of Francistown into an Investment Centre of Vibrancy by the year 2022.”