Batswana seeking to do business with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have been urged to send proposals to the respective embassies of these countries in South Africa.
“We can identify potential partners who might be interested in doing business with you,” said Andrzej Krezel who is the head of the Trade and Investment Promotion Section at the Polish Embassy in Johannesburg.
Krezel was speaking at the just-ended Global Expo which was organised by the Botswana International Trade Centre. Touting the economic advantages of his country, Krezel said that Poland has a youthful university-educated population, is ranked eighth internationally in terms of English fluency, has a productive labour force as well as a robust services and manufacturing hubs that Botswana entrepreneurs could take advantage of.
“There is not a single aeroplane in the world that does not have a part that was manufactured in Poland,” he said.
With regard to trade relations with Botswana, Krezel suggested importing motor vehicle spare parts and selling them in the Southern African Development Community region.
Some headway is already being made. Krezel said that in July this year, a Polish company that specialises with cardio-surgical procedures made contact with the Ministry of Health and is expected to establish a working relationship with the Princess Marina Referral Hospital soon.
Vladimir Jenista from the trade office of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in South Africa said that companies in his country have recently expressed interest in doing business in Southern Africa. In instances where a local entrepreneur wants to make contact with credible suppliers in the Czech Republic, Jenista said that the embassy would be more than happy to do research for the former and make recommendations.
Katrina Kralikova, the First Secretary in the Economic Trade and Development section of the Slovakian embassy said that her country experienced the highest GDP per capita growth between 2003 and 2013 during which period GDP more than doubled. She said that the country was a major car manufacturer and that one of its companies had built a power plant in Botswana for Debswana Diamond Company.
All four East European countries are part of what is known as the Visegrad Group which Kralikova described as the fastest growing economic region in the European Union.