Although the economy of developed countries might be recovering from the global recession, traces of the effects of the recession are still visible in developing economies like Botswana.
The economic recession has proved a major setback to Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA)’s export development programme of 2009/2010 as half of the expected 30 companies postponed enrolment for the programme due to difficulties faced during the period.
Only 15 companies out of the expected 30 were able to undergo training under the country’s investment agency.
Due to the recession, BEDIA faced reduced expenditure patterns from investors. BEDIA’s operational deliverables were also affected by budget cuts.
CEO of BEDIA, Jacob Nkate, recently reported that the agency managed to create a mere 225 jobs against a target of 2, 500.
This means that BEDIA failed to meet its job creation target by 2, 275 positions, thus they were able to achieve about only 9 percent of their set target.
Through its export development programme, BEDIA is reportedly identifying market outlets of locally manufactured products, with a major strategic focus on seeking and promoting products that are suitable to enter the export market.
This is done through identifying and researching new markets to facilitate targeted export promotion aimed at selected buyers, including investigation of opportunities in markets that have trade agreements with Botswana, so as to maximise benefits.
However, BEDIA’s performance report for 2009/2010 cites though, that the 2008 graduates of the development programme who have now entered the export market have found their enrolment in the programme worthwhile.
The agency reports that a certain Gantsi Crafts’s products are reportedly performing well in the American market. Another graduate of the programme, Blue Marlin’s products are said to be performing well in the regional market.
Nkate also revealed that BEDIA was able to excel in the field of value of exports generated. The 2009/2010 year saw a massive amount of P214.6 million of export revenue generated against a target of 144 million.
“That means the value of exports generated was 70.6 million above target, with the biggest performers being PVC pipes, aluminium pots, pasta, biscuits, salt, automotive batteries, furniture and soda ash,” said Nkate.
Meanwhile, Nkate said that BEDIA is busy preparing for the upcoming Shanghai Expo 2010, which is expected to take a full six months.
BEDIA is to serve as a lead co-ordinator of participation by Botswana. The expo is scheduled to take place on May 1st until October 31st.
Companies such as Debswana, Tati Nickel Mine, Morupule Colliery, MMEWR, and Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism are expected to showcase their work and represent Botswana at the Expo.