The landlocked Botswana could benefit more from regional integration, using this as a unique selling point due to its geographical location and attractiveness. This was said by Siyanga Malumo – the chairman of Africana Finance and Investment (AFI) – at the start of the 2015 Global Expo in Gaborone on Wednesday. Malumo, who was presenting on promoting economic diversification through export oriented foreign direct investment and domestic expansions, said the regional perspective offers Botswana advantage in securing regional projects.
Speaking about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Malumo said it offers benefits such as promotion of economic diversification; accelerate economic growth, job creation as well as infrastructure development. He, however, said there should be an enabling environment in place to attract FDI such as stable political environment, legal and regulatory environment and other factors such as opportunity cost. Hannah Edinger, Associate Director of Frontier Advisory Deloitte, said there are many factors that play a role in attracting FDI besides being perceived as having a relatively easy environment for doing business.
She said competitiveness contributes a significant role in attracting FDI, but noted that the business model adopted by many African states which is based on single commodity export needs to be changed. Additionally, she said countries need to get the basics right, particularly in infrastructure development, health and primary education institutions and also invest in human resource skills development. Other speakers noted that Botswana with its small population should be moving forward at a faster pace than other nations in terms of developments, arguing that low wages that exist in the country have instead become the country’s worst enemy as it loses its best talent to other countries.