Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) Managing Director Anthony Masunga has urged Francistown leadership and local businesses to step up efforts in attracting investors to the second city to revive its economy.
He said although the city was reeling from economic challenges due to the closure of mines such as Tati Nickel Mine, Francistown had potential to re-invent itself.
Masunga was officially opening the 23rd Botswana Business Northern Trade Fair on Friday in Francistown.
“I urge local businesses and the city leadership to do more and increase efforts in attracting investors. The spaghetti road is partially open to ease traffic congestion, but more infrastructure developments are required to give Francistown a facelift and unleash the economic potential of the city,” he said
Masunga was optimistic that the city could be an economic hub despite all the challenges it is facing. He further said global cities were taking a more prominent role to reinvent themselves in the quest of sustained economic growth. He challenged Francistown leaders to borrow a leaf from Palapye’s economic transformation.
“According to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) intelligence rankings 2016ÔÇô2017, Cape Town, in South Africa, ranks 21st in an international survey of leading cities in terms of its strategy to attract FDI,” Masunga added.
He said it was imperative for Botswana to benchmark from such success stories to find out what sort of investment strategies they employed to transform their cities.
On the theme of the Trade Fair: Business Agility in Botswana: Optimising Businesses at 50 years and beyond, Masunga said it spoke of how local businesses could best utilise limited resources at their disposal to respond to changing market demands and take advantage of opportunities going forward.
“The theme is about change, resilience and the future. It calls upon us not to bask in past success but to reinvent ourselves if we are to enjoy a diversified sustainable economic growth and stay relevant for the next 50 years. This requires a change in mindset in how we conduct ourselves and how we do business,” he added.
Talking about his organisation, BTC, Masunga said it had grown in leaps and bounds over the years. He said 50 years ago, Botswana was not what she is today. He said to the north, south, east and west the country was poor and could not compete with its neighbours.
Despite those challenges Batswana persevered and enjoyed a significant growth and transformation over the years leading to the birth of organisations such as BTC.
“Decades later some of local brands including BTC grew to become leading blue chip companies in the Botswana market. I like to give an example about BTC because it was not an investment brought about by external thoughts but rather the brainchild of locals designed by Batswana. It can be done,” Masunga emphasised.
Masunga further added that it was high time that Botswana benchmarked from countries such as Japan and United Arab Emirates which built thriving economies out of zero resources to become success stories of the world.
“We must never give up, instead any challenge must serve to strengthen our resolve to do more and be successful. You can dynamically adjust your business to overcome these challenges and take advantage of new market opportunities. We need to do our homework, research, use technology, innovate, partner, be flexible, be creative and work smart. Do whatever it takes to keep going,” said Masunga
He noted that through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) the country could facilitate growth of businesses to gain a competitive advantage and create employment. On BTC current performance, he said the corporation was currently trading at P1.30 representing a 30 percent appreciation since listing.
“We have also a public notice that points to a significant improvement in our financial performance which ended March 31, 2017,” he said.