The Global Expo Botswana ’09 (GEB) is targeting a massive 60 million pula at this year’s four-day exhibition to be held from 4 to 7 November 2009 at the Botswana Conference and Exhibition Centre, Fairgrounds, in Gaborone.
The Chief Executive Officer of the core organizer, the Botswana Export Development Investment Authority (BEDIA), Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, told the media at a press briefing on Tuesday that the GEB is targeting 250 exhibitors and 6000 visitors.
She also revealed that the objectives of this year’s Expo include attracting Foreign Direct Investment into Botswana, promoting joint venture opportunities between local investors and foreign investors, as well as creating a culture of entrepreneurship locally. She said that they also want to promote exports of local products and services and access to Botswana market for international exhibitors.
Makgato-Malesu said that last year’s expo was impressive as 182 exhibitors participated – compared to 156 in 2007, and that it also spanned 10 countries, adding that a cumulative figure of business generated for 2008 was P50 million, compared to P42 million in 2007. A target of 4000 visitors was recorded, a thousand more than in 2007.
This year’s GEB will run under the theme, “Unlocking Opportunities In The Current Global Recession”. She also said that the challenges they faced in mobilizing for the GEB’09 was the global recession, asserting however that they were hopeful that the expo would, nonetheless, be successful.
She affirmed that Brazil and India are major markets for the GEB, stating that they were expecting their participation as well.
“We have received indicative confirmation that the Brazilians and Indians will be exhibiting, they however have not confirmed.”
She also added that local exhibitors always assume that they “are home and don’t usually show interest early.”
“But they eventually participate,” she added.
Other challenges included attracting buyers, the size of the domestic market and other competing trade fairs.
The CEO also revealed that a multifaceted advertising campaign had been put in place to reach out to both exhibitors and visitors. The other outreach initiatives put in place, she said, are the appointment of agents from India, Brazil, South Africa, China, Ethiopia, Germany Malaysia and other countries, regular mass mailings, and selling in targeted local and international exhibitions.