Friday, December 3, 2021

Botswana woos French aviation companies in bid to become regional hub

Botswana is courting French companies in the aviation industry to invest in the country as part of its ambitious plans to become a regional hub, APA can reveal here Thursday.On Thursday France’s ambassador to Botswana – Pierre Voillery hosted French aviation companies and the event was attended by Botswana’s International Affairs and Cooperation, Unity Dow and Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi.

The companies include among others, Airbus Helicopter, Airbus Defense, Thales and MDBA.

Speaking at the event, Dow said Botswana’s vision is to become a regional aviation hub. 

She said this will be made possible by linking the world to Southern African Development Community member states and the rest of Africa. 

Dow’s sentiments follows the 2014 suggestion by the African Development Bank (AfDB) that the continent’s geography is not conducive to single-country projects. On such basis, the bank recommends a regional approach to infrastructure development to ensure service efficiency and maximise resources.

“The continent could save US$ 2 billion a year in energy costs by utilising the existing regional power pools to their full potential. For example, developing the continent’s largely untapped hydropower potential through investments in regional infrastructure such as the Grand Inga Project would generate financial returns for Africa’s power pools of 20 to 30 percent, and as high as 120 percent for the Southern African Power Pool,” the bank says in its recently-published 2011 Africa Development Report.

This week Dow therefore called on the French companies to invest in Botswana.

For his part, Voillery said there is need for continued engagement at political and business level between Botswana and France. 

According to the diplomat, the SADC- European Union-Economic Partnership Agreement PA Agreement which warrants for 100% duty free access to the EU market for Botswana goods and services is expected to improve trade between the country and France.

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