Botswana this past week hosted the inaugural Canada Africa Business conference that saw many of Canada’s best companies tread the distance to share their services and expertise with Botswana government and local entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the conference, Lucara Botswana MD Naseem Lahri pointed out that Africa has to start thinking about exporting human capital. She said as it stands, Lucara will be underground in June and the company has brought in experts to train the locals on procedures.
Lahri said experts from Germany have transferred pivotal skills to locals who are now employable in any country in the world.
“The individuals we have trained for this project can later be exported to countries such as Canada as they have been equipped with international skills,” she said.
Commenting on the state of women in the workplace in commemoration of the international Women’s Day, which was celebrated earlier this month on March 8th, Lahri said there is still a lot more that can be done to ensure inclusivity and balance in the workplace. “Higher standards are always expected from women in the workplace when compared to their male counterparts,” lamented the MD.
During the conference, it was also revealed that an estimated 65 percent of Africa’s employees are from the agricultural sector while 60 percent of the continent’s workforce comprises of youth and it is projected that Africa’s workforce will in future surpass that of India and China.
Canadian businessman and Managing Director at New Dawn Energy Solutions, Nani Pradeepan noted that Botswana was behind with regards to harnessing solar and wind energy, a specialty of his business.
“I am here because I see a lot of potential for business and also harnessing the power of the African sun,” he remarked.
The two-day Canada-Africa Business conference was brought by the Canada Chamber of Business, which has been in existence since 1994 in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, a Botswana company Soapbox Communications and leading Canadian services providers. Its main aim is to promote Canada as Africa's Business Partner of choice.
The Canada-Africa Business Conference is seen as the first-class Canadian Trade and Investment Conference that supports and benefits all involved. The two-day business conference showcased Canadian expertise and experience with a view to becoming Botswana's and SADC's business partner of choice in developing, implementing and financing projects in Africa.
It also presented an opportunity for the African parties attending to engage one-on-one with potential Canadian partners, suppliers and experts in various fields. For Canadian participants, it bore the opportunity to appreciate the needs of the region and to find appropriate SADC companies and organizations with whom to work to fulfill the needs.
Canadian companies who graced the event came from sectors such as Power Infrastructure, Agro-processing, Mining Equipment, Supplies and Services, Mining, Minerals and Beneficiation, Safety and Training, Information and Communication Technology, Financing and Investment, Health Care and Pharmaceuticals.