Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Botswana’s new envoy to Nigeria hits the ground running

Botswana’s new Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Clifford Maribe, says in the two months that he has been to his tour of duty, he has found out that there are many opportunities for Botswana’s SMMEs in Nigeria.

Maribe, however, concedes that the only stumbling block is the negative perceptions that the world has towards Nigeria, which mainly has to do with corruption and drug peddling.

“But you also get a sense that those problems are exaggerated,” he said.
He said during his stay in Nigeria he has been pleasantly surprised that Nigeria has a government that is doing everything to tackle these perceptions head on.

Of concern to him is that Botswana’s private sector has to use his office to establish contacts in Nigeria, which is a huge potential market (over 140 million people).

Such a market, said Maribe, could come in handy for a small country like Botswana that wants to use exports base as a means of diversifying the economy.
When The Telegraph caught up with him, Maribe said what he has in mind is a Government to Government cooperation aimed at vetting the people that would be a link between the two countries.

He said if interactions between the two countries are handled at official levels, weeding out unwanted elements would be easier.

He said if there is close cooperation between the Botswana and Nigerian Governments, incidents of unwanted elements that have the potential to contaminate the good relations between the two countries will be significantly reduced.

Maribe reckons that Nigeria is a net importer and said when the Maun abattoir is fully functional it would be advisable to explore the feasibility of exporting beef from therein to Nigeria.

Because of Europe’s strict trade requirements, beef from Maun cannot find its way to the larger and more lucrative European market.

Herein comes countries like Nigeria and other emerging markets, said Maribe.
He observed that South Africans have already penetrated the Nigerian market, adding that there is nothing stopping Botswana small businesses from also doing the same.

Nigeria is by far Africa’s most populous nation.

One sector Maribe specifically singled out for mention is furniture manufacturing.

He said there is evidence that Nigeria continues to import its furniture.

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