Thursday, July 7, 2022

US ambassador urges Botswana to install right business atmosphere

With the world now looking to Africa to do business, Botswana has been urged to prepare its business environment to be ripe and take advantage of this extraordinary and fleeting opportunity.

Botswana has been identified as one of the most desirable places to do business. However, more needs to be done to attract foreign investment inflow.

“The major challenge for Botswana is to transform investor’s general interest in Africa into specific investments here,” said Michelle Gavin, USA Ambassador to Botswana. Gavin said foreign investment can play a critical role as a new engine of economic growth in Botswana.

She said competition is rife to attract investment in different African countries as such Botswana must out-compete other African countries seeking to do the same thing.
“Make no mistake, because the competition is intense,” she said.

Last year, Rwanda surpassed Botswana on the World Bank’s Ease of doing business indicators.
Gavin said if Botswana is to stay competitive, it must focus on at least four issues that are a business friendly environment: infrastructure, skills development, entrepreneurism and business linkages.

Botswana should be open for business by creating a business friendly environment. “Botswana must recognize that as competition for investment heats up, it runs the risk of being left behind; to avoid missing out on this moment of heightened investor interest, she must act quickly and decisively to distinguish herself,” said Gavin. Countries like Mozambique, Rwanda and Ghana have already started and their economies are responding accordingly.

“It should not take 61 days to start a business, it is a disincentive to fledgling Batswana companies and American companies that might seek to invest in Botswana and create mutually beneficial partnerships with local business,” said Gavin.

In addition, she said Botswana must enable growth in its most promising sectors through infrastructure and skills development.

“Government and the private sector should come together to ensure that the right business climate is supported by an enabling frame work of infrastructure and skills,” she added.

Gavin cited entrepreneurism as a major aspect that needs to be cultivated to attract investment.
She added that stronger business linkages beyond its borders will also create an opportunity for Botswana companies to grow, thrive and ultimately compete in the global market place.

“At the center of the 277 million people SADC market, Botswana should become a vibrant hub for commerce in Southern Africa,” she said.

Gavin, however, urged businesses themselves to reach out and get to know potential partners in other countries.


Read this week's paper