The first Francistown Investment Forum which will be held from August 19 to 21 is on course as it is receiving encouraging support from investors and other stakeholders, Project Coordinator, Sylvester Toteng, said during a press conference in Francistown.
The Investment Forum, initiated by the Francistown City Council (FCC), seeks to help lure investors into the second city and save it from becoming a ghost town. The Forum will also discuss, among other things, opportunities available for investment and the planning of the developments of the greater Francistown by the year 2022.
Toteng said that although they had initially anticipated to raise P3.3 million for the forum, they managed to raise P540 000 from the sponsors, a figure which he said is very encouraging.
“We initially anticipated that we would raise P3.3 million but we managed to raise P540 000.
Although we failed to raise the anticipated amount we feel that the money we raised is encouraging because this is the first forum of its kind in the city. Some sponsors and investors had initially been skeptical about the forum, but as we are speaking they are now coming forth in good numbers to support us. We have already received immense support from organizations such as Debswana, Daisy Loo and others. We are also partnering with the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre in this initiative,” he said.
He said that the Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe, will officially open the forum. Among other notable delegates who will participate at the forum are the Managing Director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo, Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) Chief Executive Officer Charles Siwawa and BITC Chief Executive Officer, Letsebe Sejoe.
“We have also invited delegates from the Ministry of Lands and Housing, Botswana Tourism Organization, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs and the Agriculture Hub because we feel that they are very important stake-holders in this initiative,” he said.
Toteng also said that delegates from different councils across the country will attend the forum for benchmarking purposes.
Speaking at the same press conference, the Business Analyst from BITC (Special Economic Zones), Tefo Phatshwane said that Francistown has a very big potential of becoming an economic giant given its geographical location and opportunities that exist in its vicinity.
“First of all Francistown is a gateway to the North African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has an access market of over 200 million people in the North African countries. There is a very good investment opportunity in this city for investors hence our partnership with the city leadership,” he said.
He also said that Francistown is surrounded by several mines and dams which present opportunities for investment,” he said.
The Investment Forum will be held under the theme “City of Francistown: An Investment Centre of Vibrance by 2022 ÔÇô A step forward to your Investment”.