Bank of Botswana Governor Moses Pelaelo says prudent management of foreign reserves act as contributing factor in helping the country attract investments.
He said this on Thursday when opening the 2016 Global Expo in Gaborone under the theme, “unlocking opportunities for economic growth”. The event, which attracted over 250 exhibitors from Africa as well as Asia and other countries, is considered a premier business-to-business multi-sectoral, investment and trade expo. Brand Botswana also hosted 20 upcoming companies at its stall to showcase their works. This is the 11th year for the expo. Pelaelo, who was appointed the BoB Governor last month, said globalisation and openness have provided economic growth which has benefitted emerging markets, particularly in Africa due to commodity demand. Pelaelo said factors such as inflation, which has been kept under control at the lower end of its target objective of 3-6 percent, are vital for attraction of investments in the country.
Meanwhile the guest speaker at the event, former governor of the Reserve Bank of South Africa, Tito Mboweni said Botswana should explore opportunities that could make it the Singapore of Africa by leveraging on human capital. He said Singapore does not mine any commodity like most of the African countries, Botswana included. The country, he said, has leveraged on human capital to grow its economy. Mboweni, who was the governor of the Reserve Bank of South between 1999 and 2009, said the country should enter into discussions on business packaging. One area which he said has not been fully explored is the agriculture sector. This area, he said, has not been grown to the desired levels. The impeding factor he said is access to finance, “the biggest challenge in Africa is access to capital,” Mboweni said. He also said the country must learn how to implement projects. “Our leadership must learn to move with speed,” he said. The agriculture sector is said to possess huge potential to grow the economy and it has been noted that ICT should be integrated into the sector which is the case in other countries such as Kenya.
A delegate from the Kenya Horticultural Crop Development Authority, Zakayo Magara, said Botswana could draw many lessons from his country on how to grow the sub-sector. He said horticulture is well regulated in Kenya and has leveraged on ICT to grow. Meanwhile, the Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Biggie Butale urged investors to take keen interest in opportunities available in the country. He said investors would be able to enjoy incentives provided by government such as duty-free import of machinery and equipment for manufacturing purposes, no foreign exchange controls; remittance and full repatriation of profits and dividends and no restrictions on business ownership. Other benefits enjoyed by investors include customs duty exemption on raw materials for goods going outside of SACU, liberal tax regime and negotiable tax holiday up to 10 years maximum.