President Mokgweetsi Masisi this week oiled his administrative machinery by boldly committing to make Botswana great again as far as ease of doing business and investment attraction is concerned.
Masisi assured a High Level Consultative gathering in Gaborone on Thursday that he will spearhead an undertaking that will make Botswana’s best investment attraction destination in Africa and the world as well as loosen regulations and the go how of setting up a business in Botswana. Botswana has in recent years shown to decline on international rankings by several global investment institutions and economic organizations.
The Africa Investment Index (AII) 2018 report by the Quantum Global Research Lab placed Botswana on fourth position as far as investment attraction is concerned, a three (3) spots decline compared to the 2017 Index which placed the landlocked middle income country on position 1. The latest report by the World Bank also ranked Botswana on position 81 out of 190 countries in the ease of doing business index compared to the 71st position in the previous report. This according to the first citizen is worrisome.
“You will agree with me that this is of great concern and we need to redouble our efforts to attract and make it easier for companies to set up and do business in Botswana. You will have noticed in the agenda that the World Bank Group will present an update on how we are progressing in the Doing Business rankings and principally what we need to do to improve the situation,” he said.
Masisi said this before high raking government officials, captains of industries, cabinet ministers, corporate and stakeholder leaders borrowing from his inauguration speech when he ascended to the highest office in the land last month. “In my inauguration address, I made a commitment to prioritise the fight against unemployment, particularly amongst young people.
I am determined to work very hard to facilitate the creation of as many jobs in this economy as I possibly can. Jobs are, and will continue to be created when Government positions itself to do what it ought to do and to not do that which it ought not to do,” he said, adding that his government will create a conducive environment for the private sector to flourish and it is the private sector which will create jobs on a sustainable basis. “In that context, Government should be seen as a facilitator and enabler in the creation of jobs.”
According to Masisi, his government will play this facilitator role through continued dialogue and commitment to support the private sector’s efforts through reforms that will improve the doing business climate to expand investment and create employment, among other things. In the past few years, Government has been engaged in a series of business friendly reforms across all sectors to improve the business climate. Cabinet has initiated a number of legislative amendments that support this agenda, including the approval of the Regulatory Impact Assessment Strategy, whose objective is to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the regulatory framework.â€¨
Masisi reiterated that this was done with broader objective of diversifying our economy adding that his administration has prioritized the implementation of the Cluster Development initiative across a number of sectors explaining that the three sectors that have been earmarked are beef, tourism and financial services. “The remaining sectors of mining and diamond beneficiation will be implemented as soon as possible,” he said. â€¨â€¨Furthermore the President explained that capacity building has started, with the focus on the Cluster teams, who are being trained to immediately roll out the methodology to private sector companies.
“This has been followed up by first level sector-wide consultations, with representation from all value chain players within the sectors, the engagements will be strengthened further, with the aim of fostering strategic action lines that will generate a change dynamic that will make companies and industry more competitive in the targeted sectors.” He further underscored that public-private partnerships will be crucial to propel this country to greater heights in terms of economic diversification, creation of employment and sustainable economic growth.
“Through this project, private sector companies will be assisted with the tools to enhance their competitiveness, accompanied by appropriate interventions from Government to address challenges in the doing business environment.”â€¨â€¨Masisi lamented that with existing initiatives such as Special Economic Zones, Botswana Ones Stop Service Centre, Online registration of business government is confident that Botswana will bounce back to be the number 1 investment attraction place in Africa “With this in mind and in the spirit of reforming ease of doing business in Botswana, Cabinet has therefore decided to make adjustments & reorientation to our immigration position. Investors who have been struggling with VISAs, permits etc will now be facilitated as expeditiously as possible.”â€¨
Homegrown LED light manufacturing company, The Bulb World, has kick started operations in South Africa, setting in motion the company’s ambitious continental expansion plans.
The Bulb World, which was partly funded by Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) at the tune of P4 million, to manufacture LED lighting bulbs for both commercial and residential use in 2017, announced last year that it will enter the South African market in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of North West province under the auspices of North West Development Corporation (NWDC).
The company has already secured a deal with South Africa authorities which entails production factory shells and tax incentives arrangements.
The company founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ketshephaone Jacob has also previously stated that the company is looking for just under P50 million to finance its expansion strategy and is reaching out to institutional investors such as Botswana Public Officers Pensioners Fund (BPOPF) and government investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).
However, Jacob told WeekendPost that instead of sitting and waiting for expansion funding the company has started hitting the ground running.
“We have decided to get in the streets of SA, start selling lights from door to door, ” said Jacob who is in currently in Rusternburg to oversee the introduction of The Bulb World products in the market.
Jacob explained more brand activations will be undertaken in South Africa. “The plan is to do it the whole of North West and Limpopo province, through hawkers, we give the hawkers the lights to sell at a factory price and they put a mark up and make a living,” he said.
The Bulb World operates from Selibe Phikwe, it currently employees 65 young people, 80 % of which are Phikwe youth. The company plans to add 100 jobs this year alone as it forges ahead with its regional and continental expansion plans.
In July this year Bulb World products will hit South African Shelves: Pick n Pay, Checkers and Africa’s largest retailer Shoprite.
The Bulb World has been registered as a company in South Africa; the company will start producing lights from Mogwasa after striking a special economic zones deal with North West Development Corporation in North West Province South Africa.
“Over the next 10 years we are looking to create over 5,000 jobs in Africa. Through our expansion into all of Africa we will be able to create employment for various individuals in different sectors namely; manufacturing, distribution electronics and retail,” Jacob told this publication earlier this year.
Jacob said if all goes well, the plan is to have taken over Africa or rather penetrated, and have prevalent presence in the African market.
“We are gunning to have at least 30 percent market share by then. According to a 2016 Market Survey, the total valuation of sales for LED Lighting was 57BN, a portion of which we plan to have taken over by then,” he said.
While the company has set its eyes on Africa, Jacob said, the company has not fully exploited its local growth, indicating that there could be strategic factories built to supply neighbouring countries of Angola and Zimbabwe.
“There is potential for further local expansion as well to other areas of Botswana if things run smoothly as anticipated. Hopefully in the long-term if our fellow Africans and all these markets receive us well we are planning to build another factory,” he said.
“We are looking to build another factory in the Chobe/Ngamiland Area that will give priority to markets in Zimbabwe and Angola,” he said
The Maun based Okavango Research Institute (ORI) has downplayed the impacts of oil and gas exploration in part of Okavango delta arguing that given the distance proposed the likelihoods of negative impacts drilling these exploration wells on the surface water systems is likely to be negligible.
The Institution released a position paper titled ‘Proposed Petroleum (Oil and Gas) Exploration Operations in the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) No. 73,’ with findings stating that, in the event of discovery of economically viable hydrocarbon deposits, much more careful consideration of the impacts and economic benefits of development of the resource will be needed.
For example, the fracking process for gas and oil extraction is known to require large volumes of underground water.
It further argues that increased extraction of the underground water is likely to affect the water table level and further affect the overall water availability in the river-basin.
“The effect on water availability and use may become worse if surface water is reticulated or sourced by any means from the Kavango River. Should the exploration and fracking for oil and gas expand to Block 1720, 1721 and 1821, the impact on water availability and quality will be significant, especially if the wastewater is not well managed,” said the paper.
The research unit recommends close communication between the relevant Basin State Ministries (Mineral Resources, Environment) and the Permanent Commission on the Okavango River Basin, OKACOM, and other stakeholders must be facilitated.
This will facilitate sharing of the correct information on the desired intentions of the basin states and compromises sought for the sustainability of the ecosystems in the downstream of the Cubango-Okavango river Basin, states the position paper.
ORI as a key stakeholder with scientific information says it is positioned to provide scientific advice and guidance to decision-makers on the potential impacts of both exploration and development and operation activities.
It also recommends that while the impacts might be minimal at the exploration stage, environmental impacts during the development and extraction process are significant.
Findings also state that the SADC Protocol places a mandatory duty to make a notification of planned measures undertaken in any riparian state in cases where such measures hold the potential to cause ‘significant adverse effects.’
It further states that where the planned development is trivial and not expected to cause any significant harm, the development state is not under duty to notify other riparian states.
Given that the drilling in the Kavango Region in Nambia is merely for exploratory purpose and the possibility of harm is minor, it is therefore not surprising that the Namibian government did not inform Botswana.
However, should it be found that the oil can be profitably or economically exploited, the Namibian government would be under a duty to notify both Angola and Botswana.
The institution further states that to ensure sustainable development in the Okavango Delta the following in the context of exploration for and potential development of hydrocarbon deposits within the Cubango-Okavango River Basin, it must be considered that the Okavango Delta is a World Heritage Site listed in 2014 by UNESCO and one of the binding requirements of the listing is the non-permissible commercial mining of any mineral, gas or oil within the World Heritage Site.
It states that the Okavango Delta is also a RAMSAR site in which mining is not allowed.
Should the exploration for minerals, oil and gas be allowed, there is a high chance that a mineral, oil or gas may be found given that the Delta is sitting on karoo sediments and shale rocks which in other parts of the world have been found to be sources of oil and gas deposits. Should oil or gas be discovered, there will be a strong socio-economic pressure to mine oil or gas and create jobs for the masses.
Manufactured in Turkey, Pakmaya Instant Dry Yeast can be used in the production of various fermented products, as it is suited for both traditional and industrial baking processes. All kinds of breads, buns and fermented pastry products are typical examples of applications.
Pakmaya Africa Sales Manager Cem Perdar says Pakmaya has 4 plants in across the world, further indicating that all of the plants have the highest standards of quality certificates and approvals. Regarding raw material, molasses is the main ingredient for yeast. Concerning production activities, yeast manufacturing requires high know-how and capability. Pakmaya has all those capabilities and aspects more than 45 years.
According to Perdar, Pakmaya has been existent in African markets since 30 years. From South to North, Central to East and West, a consumer can find Pakmaya in nearly every part of Africa continent.
“With its high quality, rich product selection and good service, our brand has become the favorite yeast of many Africans. On the other hand, our distributors in African countries are working very hardly and loyally in order to promote our products in their markets. After some time, we are becoming like families with our exclusive distributors in Africa and this enables both parts to work harder and keeps our product sustainable in market,” he said in an interview this week.
The yeast manufacturing giant made its way to Botswana market. The company has been smoothly working with Kamoso Distribution, a local distribution company. Perdar told BusinessPostthat two entities have been working hard to earn is market locally.
“At the moment we have a good market share with them in Botswana market. I’m sure during 2021 long, we will be increasing our sales and market position. Soon we are going to start a marketing campaign in Botswana, so that means Batswana will see and recognize Pakmaya more and more. Pakmaya wants to be the best friend of bakers in bakeries and ladies at homes in Botswana.”
As per global COVID-19 regulations to curb the spread of the COVID-19, Botswana just like other country closed borders. Providentially, the restrictions did not affect the company destructively.
Perdar says “Kamoso Africa is a very important and strong partner in Botswana territory. With Kamoso’s hard work and strict measurements, we have done a very good job. So as Pakmaya, we have not suffered any distribution problem. Our partner is doing the needful at the reaching our products to end users.”
He further said “We are doing well in Botswana market and hoping to make much more. Our aim is to enter every single corner in Botswana territory. With our new marketing campaigns, we are planning to be the most preferred yeast in Botswana market.”