Botswana government has been advised to ease immigration laws in a bid to attract foreign investors.
The call was made by Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) Bogolo kenewendo at the Africa Economic Forum hosted by Barclays Bank Botswana in the capital Gaborone this week.
Kenewendo said that tight immigration laws are costing the country opportunities to fully reap the benefits of the celebrated global economic growth.
“Botswana must create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive as a matter of urgency”, said the youthful MP from Boteti district.
As part of her submissions, Kenewendo also said that the registrar of Companies needs to significantly cut down the current turnaround time of 45 days.
Turning to immigration, the special elected MP said that Immigration reforms should also start taking place.
“Immigration has a direct link to ease of doing business or the lack thereof. Especially speaking of luring direct foreign investors who are looking to bring in some of the expertise that we perhaps will not find locally,” she said.
In 2016, visiting Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta said that he had “pushed” President Ian Khama to consider reviewing the country’s immigration laws. Kenyatta, who held trade talks with Khama at his office said he urged President Khama to review immigration rules especially those concerning work permits for Kenyans who want to work in Botswana.
“Today I held bilateral talks with President Ian Khama where I pushed for ways to boost business engagements between Kenya and Botswana. I urged President Khama for a review of immigration rules especially those concerning work permits for Kenyans who want to work in Botswana,” Kenyatta said.
Three years ago, two senior officials at the Chinese embassy in Botswana described the country’s immigration laws as ‘draconian’, ‘disturbing’ and unfriendly to investors.
Li Nan who is the Deputy Head of Mission, Political Counselor at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Botswana made his countrymen’s displeasure known this week when briefing journalists on the official visit of Botswana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Pelonomi-Venson-Moitoi.
According to Nan, some Chinese businessmen who had shown interest in having their visas renewed were turned down and no reasons were proffered.
He also took issue with the countries deportations saying his countrymen were uncomfortable with investing in the country as one could be deported “anytime without reasons being provided.”