The country’s premier business to business exhibition, Global Expo Botswana 2014 has this week brought some of the most prolific business acumen under one roof.
The Expo is tailored to give a platform for ‘business to come together and talk business to create more business.’
The Expo, which ran from Monday 17th to Wednesday 19th, was held under the theme: Enhancing the Botswana Landscape through foreign Direct Investment and Exports.
The multisectoral Expo and Investment and Trade Conference, together entailing the Global Expo Botswana, also delivered a match making programme which was focussed on profiling and matching exhibitors with visitors to facilitate buyer seller meetings between the parties. It is the practice to record and keep track of the deals so as to determine the value of the total business attained at the Expo.
The Investment and Trade Conference deliberations were centred around: investigating the potential for multimedia centres; unlocking of the Call Centre industry in Botswana; improving competitiveness for Botswana and the continent; acceleration of strategic infrastructure development in Botswana public-private-partnerships and looking at how to take full advantage of European Union – Southern African Development Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-SADC EPA) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
There has been a surge in the number of exhibitors from the previous years -138 to 160- with exhibitors coming from countries such as South Africa, Swaziland, Poland, Afghanistan, Ghana, Poland, Germany, Zimbabwe and Zambia, to reach a target 5000 visitors to the Expo.
“Next year is to have a more international participation in the Expo; as one can see that the participation is mostly from SADC region with a spattering of the international community,” said Aphiri.
Reitumetse Aphiri, Executive Director-Investment Promotion told BusinessPost that the the success of the Expo over its nine years of existence has been the continually growing number of exhibitors and visitiors to the Expo. The addition of the conferences is also a value add to the Expo.
Aphiri revealed that business to business deals often rang between P50 million and P100 million and there are regular surveys to track the progress of these deals.
The Investment and Trade Conference ran concurrently with two other forums: The Global Entrepreneurship Week, a forum of innovators and job creators who launch start ups, and drive economic growth; and a private public dialogue organized by European Centre for Development Enterprise, titled Botswana beef value chain; from assets to investment. The beef dialogue was meant to analyse the beef value chain and how opportunities within the chain can be exploited by investors.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.