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Home » News » Business » 40 000 new jobs in 7 years

40 000 new jobs in 7 years

Publishing Date : 28 August, 2017

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

The Ministry of Investment Trade & Industry (MITI) has taken a decision to push women and youth into utilizing the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) program, assistant Minister at the ministry Biggie Butale has revealed.


The initiative presents trade opportunities into the elite market of United States of America under a number of sectors from textile and manufacturing. Butale says his ministry recognizes women as critical role players in the transformation of Botswana’s economy from import dependent to manufactured goods export led. He says women make up a vital population of manufactures workforce especially in the textile field.


Speaking during Women in Leadership Breakfast forum in Phakalane last week Saturday Butale noted that the AGOA initiative was meant to offer incentives to African countries to continue their efforts to grow their economies and build free markets. Currently Botswana‘s utilization of AGOA program is very minimal to less, Butale revealed recently in parliament. He told attendants at the breakfast seminar that the AGOA National Response Strategy has been finalized and endorsed by the ministry in consultations with the AGOA National Reference Group, which comprises of stakeholders from Government and the private sector. “The Strategy has identified potential sectors, for export to the United States (US) market under the Act. It also includes an elaborate implementation matrix detailing specific sector based actions and activities to be undertaken for effective implementation of the Strategy,” he said.


The Minister also added that all the activities which are to be undertaken by the different stakeholders have been costed.  “It requires detailed technical assessment of each identified export potential sector, in terms of establishing production capacity and competitiveness of the Botswana industry as well as the demand and requirements of the US market,” he explained urging women that once the program beneficiation is ready to  roll their world class manufactured goods should be ready as well for American consumption.

According to Butale his Ministry intends to have created over 40 000 new jobs in the next coming 7 years and the AGOA initiative presents a lucrative opportunity to realize that target as it opens up the manufacturing industry which when well nurtured and flourishing can create tens of thousands of sustainable jobs. Butale urged women and manufactures to produce goods and commodities of higher standards as American markets were very particular about the kind, type and standards of products they would pay for. “Your goods and products would enter the United States of America market duty free and quota free,” he said.

Though Botswana hasn’t been utilizing the AGOA program fully trade between Botswana and USA out of the program was going on an upward trend. The Sub Saharan Africa trade data between Botswana and USA indicates that exports from USA to Botswana in 2015 made up US$ 39.04 million which in 2016 increased to US$ 42.31 million. Reports indicate that in 2015 America imported products from Botswana amounting to US$ 211.91 million which in 2016 increased to US$ 434.16 million.

THE AGOA PROGRAM EXPLAINED

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program is an Agreement between the African countries and the United States on matters of trade to facilitate penetration of African companies into the United States market. The program targets manufacturing companies in strategic sectors like agriculture and textile. The United States hopes to boost African developing economies with this platform.


The act was enacted into United States Trade Act, on 18 May 2000 as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress. AGOA has since been renewed to 2025. The legislation significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The intention was to set requirements for local textile fabric sourcing where it was considered that sufficient quantities were available in AGOA-eligible countries; third country fabric (the provisions related only to denim initially) would thus first have to be sourced locally or regionally before third country imports could be utilized for onward exports of denim garments.

BITC FACILITATION

Botswana Investment Trade Center (BITC) as MITI’s corporate and expert image will lead Botswana’s employment and economic transformation agenda in the area of business development facilitation, trade and export promotion. Assistant Minister Butale urged women to seek for information at BITC which he said was equipped with all the necessary information women can tap into and ready themselves to penetrate the US market.


The BITC is an organization established by an act of Parliament, to become an integrated Investment and Trade Promotion Authority (ITPA) with an encompassing mandate of investment promotion and attraction, export promotion, and development, including management of the national brand. Through its critical role within Botswana’s economy, BITC further encourages domestic investment and expansion, promotes locally manufactured goods to regional and international markets, contributes towards improvement of the investment climate through policy advocacy, increases citizen participation in the economy and creates sustainable job opportunities.


Currently BITC continues to push its agenda of economic diversification, position Botswana as a globally competitive country as well as promote Botswana as the premier investment destination. In its continued efforts to attract investments into Botswana, this week  the organization hosted renowned internal and regional speakers, representatives from government and some of the key stakeholders in the Botswana automotive sector for the Thought Leadership Forum.


The intended purpose of this forum  was to present to stakeholders a progress update on the implementation of the Botswana automotive value proposition, feedback from OEM’s in South Africa on how to structure the industry, to discuss the strategies of increasing the sector competitiveness as well as to develop strategies of attracting both OEM’s and auto component manufacturers to Botswana. Last week BITC in collaboration with the Czech Republic Embassy hosted a Business Forum focusing on the defence and security sector to curb any uncertainties and threats, investors between the countries may have concerning issues of security and safety.

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