With commodity prices continuing to affect the country’s economy, the establishment of a manufacturing and distribution technology company Almaz, has been a welcome development. Almaz is the first of its kind computer assembly company in Botswana. The company will not only be about computer assembly but also expansion of electronics manufacturing and a catalyst for content development and Research & Development. In order to provide the best possible service to Batswana the company which was set up with an investment of P20 million is in partnership with global technology suppliers. Almaz co-founder and chairman Monametsi Kalayamotho said the company is a Microsoft Named Partner (OEM) and Intel Partner (OEM) in all gadgets that they produce. “We are excited to be launching a new brand into the market. Our aim is to have Almaz produce gadgets with competitive quality and price for the local market. As a tech company, it is important to affiliate with global tech suppliers in order to provide the best possible service,” said Kalayamotho.
Speaking at the launch of the new company on Thursday, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the establishment of Almaz could not have come at the right time. He said the move is significant to the country’s economic diversification as ICT is a critical driver and can be used to diversify to a knowledge-based economy. Masisi said manufacturing has helped many countries’ economies and Botswana should also take advantage. “Botswana is ideally positioned to move on to industrialisation. We have a stable economic history as well as political stability and the workforce,” said Masisi. The setting up of Almaz is expected to help the country in a number of ways which include import reduction, sustainable and skilled job creation, skills development and capacity building, service delivery, knowledge economy and economic diversification. The company plans to build a distribution, warranty and services network with 23 regional centres to provide warranty and support services to communities. Kalayamotho said the operation is set to create 500 skilled jobs in the first year, while indirectly acting as a catalyst to local content development. Masisi commended Almaz for their contribution to economic diversification and job creation. “This is commendable as the numbers of jobs are expected to grow with uptake of the gadgets,” he said.
With government’s import bill at P76 billion the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse believes that the establishment of the company will help reduce this bill. Seretse called upon the private sector to look at what government imports most and take advantage of the opportunity. “There are many opportunities that we can follow to reduce the high import bill. All we need to do is to look at what government is currently importing and we produce that locally,” said Seretse. Just like Masisi, Seretse echoed government’s continued support to Almaz and other local companies.