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BITC set to protect manufacturing sector

BITC CEO, Letsebe Sejoe

The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) wants local manufacturing companies to be protected and intends to engage the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB) with the view of introducing policies to that effect.   

BITC CEO Letsebe Sejoe hinted this during a media tour of four manufacturing companies; Gabs Bedding, Babic Holdings, Alpha Access Botswana and Lithoflex which are being assisted by BITC to grow their business.

The four companies have benefitted from BITC services and were assisted with amongst other things: facilitating for their participation in export promotion mission in South Africa and Namibia, and enrolling some in export readiness capacity building and assistance in penetrating international markets.

BITC came into being following the merger of Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) and International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) and was mandated to pursue investment promotion and attraction, export promotion, and development, including management of the nation brand, known as Brand Botswana.  

A number of concerns were raised by the four companies, chief among them absence of policy frame work that will protect local manufacturers by compelling companies to procure goods locally, especially companies that do business with government.

Anoop Varghese of Babic, a stationary manufacturing company based in Tlokweng, which employs over 100 personnel, hinted that there is possibility of creating more jobs provided there are empowerment policies which protect local manufacturers, instead of them being left to compete with companies which procure and create employment outside the country.

Gabs Bedding, whose factory is located in Phakalane Industrial, also employs over 100 people, and produces household furniture raised the same concerns. Gabs Bedding which sells only to retailers and individuals has sourced business from major furniture stores such as Furnmart and Carvinal but other furniture retailers have been reluctant to come on board because decisions petaining to their procurement is taken outside the country.

According to Ray Morgan, the director of Gabs Bedding, allowing other players to procure from outside the country is basically exporting jobs, when those jobs could be created within the country for citizens.

The tour, according to the BITC CEO was also intended to getting response from the companies with regards to the kind of assistance they (manufacturers) need from government.

Sejoe quipped that the best way to address some of the concerns would be engaging PPADB which is responsible for tender adjudication and awarding. Sejoe said BITC would make efforts to have government procurement specify that a company which wins a government contract will be willing to buy from a local manufacturing company as a way of protecting local jobs and creating new ones.

According to Sejoe, since 2014 BITC has been able to help create over 5000 jobs against a target of 2500. BITC has also attracted P6.3 billion investment through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Domestic Investment and through expansions. FDI accounts to P2,8 billion of the investment.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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Global CEOs Back Plan to Unlock $3.4 Trillion Potential of Africa Free Trade Area

23rd January 2023

African heads of state and global CEOs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting backed the launch of the first of its kind report on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa outlines high-potential sectors, initiatives to support business and investment, operational tools to facilitate the AfCFTA, and illustrative examples from successful businesses in Africa to guide businesses in entering and expanding in this area.

The report aims to provide a pathway for global businesses and investors to understand the biggest trends, opportunities and strategies to successfully invest and achieve high returns in Africa, developing local, sub-regional and continental value chains and accelerating industrialization, all of which go hand in hand with the success of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world, by area and number of participating countries. Once fully implemented, it will be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with the potential to have a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion. Conceived in 2018, it now has 54 national economies in Africa, could attract billions in foreign investment, and boost overseas exports by a third, double intra-continental trade, raise incomes by 8% and lift 50 million people out of poverty.

To ease the pain of transition to its new single market, Africa has learned from trade liberalization in North America and Europe. “Our wide range of partners and experience can help anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions in business and production dynamics,” said Børge Brende, President, and World Economic Forum. “The Forum’s initiatives will help to ease physical, capital and digital flows in Africa through stakeholder collaboration, private-public collaboration and information-sharing.”

Given the continent’s historically low foreign direct investment relative to other regions, the report highlights the sense of excitement as the AfCFTA lowers or removes barriers to trade and competitiveness. “The promising gains from an integrated African market should be a signal to investors around the world that the continent is ripe for business creation, integration and expansion,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Regional Agenda, Africa, World Economic Forum.

The report focuses on four key sectors that have a combined worth of $130 billion and represent high-potential opportunities for companies looking to invest in Africa: automotive; agriculture and agroprocessing; pharmaceuticals; and transport and logistics.

“Macro trends in the four key sectors and across Africa’s growth potential reveal tremendous opportunities for business expansion as population, income and connectivity are on the rise,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat.

“These projections reveal an unprecedented opportunity for local and global businesses to invest in African countries and play a vital role in the development of crucial local and regional value chains on the continent,” said Landry Signé, Executive Director and Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Regional Action Group for Africa.

The Forum is actively working towards implementing trade and investment tools through initiatives, such as Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, to align with the negotiation process of the AfCFTA. It identifies areas where public-private collaboration can help reduce barriers and facilitate investment from international firms.

About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme, Cooperation in a Fragmented World. It calls on world leaders to address immediate economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world. For further information,

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