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Investors shrug off political battles

SHARE   |   Thursday, 18 July 2019   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Olebile Olebile

Political battles that have become synonymous with local politics, particularly the succesion fallout between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama, has raised concerns that it could dent investor confidence on Botswana.

Khama's strategy of taking their differences to international audiences claiming that since his departure Botswana has grown unstable, has not had any impact on investor confidence on the country. Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BTIC) Chief Executive Officer Keletsositse Olebile said although the situation is not helpful, it has not yet affected investor confidence on Botswana. “On the ground is a totally different situation as investor confidence is still very high. We are seeing more investors showing interest in Botswana,” he said with confidence.

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Olebile said since April 2018 they have received delegations from Italy who were interested in investing in leather industry, India whose focus is on the pharmaceutical industry and South Africa.

One of the issues that negatively affected the country’s image is the issue of the lifting of the hunting ban which saw some international conservation organisations staging demonstrations calling on tourists and investors to boycott Botswana tourism. Olebile said this did not affect investor confidence that much owing to the aggressive marketing of the country by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. “President Masisi has done well in inviting investors to come to Botswana. The results are beginning to show like the decision by Qatar Airways to have flights to Botswana,” he said.

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One of the reasons why most of investors are now developing keen interest in investing in Botswana is due to reforms that the country has embarked on especially on immigration, revealed BITC CEO. “The reforms which some include speeding up permanent residence applications have really boosted investor confidence in the country, He said.

BITC according to its CEO has managed to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of P 3168 million for the 2018/18 compared to P950 in 2017/18. FDI managed to create 1067 employment while Domestic Investment created 503 jobs.

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On Domestic Investment, government investment arm managed to attract P1832.77 million for 2018/19 compared to P1792 in 2017/18. He said that 40 companies are on investment pipeline with a combined investment level of P679 327 083.00 and employment levels of 2340. Majority of the companies are on the manufacturing sector and currently awaiting land allocation.

Director of Business Facilitation Anthony Sefako told journalists that Botswana One Stop Service Centre is doing extremely well. This year BOSSC registered a steep increase in utilization of its services as compared to the previous year. “The Centre processed 602 government authorizations compared to the 370 in the previous financial- 62% increase,” he said.

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Sefako indicated that approval rate stood at 97% compared to 81% in the previous financial year which he said is attributed to the aggressive marketing campaigns. The opening of the Francistown office according to Sefako is expected to contribute significantly in the number of approvals. On the investor aftercare, Sefako said that they encourage investors to retain their investment in Botswana expand their businesses and diversify into other opportunities available within the country.



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