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Inaugural SACU Investment Roundtable chats regional integration 


Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the world’s oldest customs integration body comprising Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, ESwatini, and Namibia, this week met in Gaborone for its first ever investment Roundtable. 

Headlined and officially opened by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who is also Chairman of the SACU Summit, the roundtable was held under the theme, “Positioning SACU as an industrial, investment, manufacturing and innovation hub for the African continent and beyond”.

The Investment Roundtable showcased investment opportunities in selected priority sectors across the SACU Region, targeting: Textiles and Clothing, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics and Essential Oils as well as Agro-processing specifically leather & leather products, meat & meat products, and fruits & vegetables.

These sectors according to SACU Executive Secretary Paulina Mbala Elago offer extensive opportunities for the development of Regional Value Chains across the South African Customs Union.  The Roundtable also featured panel discussions with leading experts on financing for industrialisation, competitiveness of the trading environment well as a Business to Business session featuring meetings with promoters of investment projects in the listed priority sectors.

Speakers included amongst others SACU Ministers of Trade and Finance, Private Sector representative from SACU and beyond, Development Finance Institutions, Development Partners, and Senior Government officials. Officially opening the event President Masisi said the discussions will assist the region to transition into a focused approach in support of its collective investment promotion.

He said it was of critical importance for SACU members to work together to advance regional integration objectives and find solutions to global challenges and problems facing them. The President noted that the Roundtable took place at the aftermath of a successful completion of the Dubai 2020 Expo where all SACU Member States participated showcasing their Investment opportunities and developmental potential hence making the Roundtable a good way to transition into the Region’s focused approach in support of the SACU Collective Investment Promotion Drive.

President Masisi further said that SACU has a common vision to advance work on Industrialisation and take advantage of the opportunities created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), achieving that through a coordinated approach insuring that all the SACU Member States benefit from the Industrialisation initiatives undertaken by the Region.

He further encouraged participants to fully take part in the Roundtable, discussing, brainstorming and sharing ideas on how to pragmatically take the work forward. For his part Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Mmusi Kgafela said that the current focus on Industrialisation is in line with the SACU Agreement of 2002, which aims at enhancing Economic Development, diversification and competitiveness of the five (5) SACU Member States.

Minister Kgafela highlighted that Regional Industrialisation is the main vehicle through which the SACU Region can transform its Economies and generate sustainable growth, employment and reduce poverty. Some of the key Speakers from Botswana included amongst Botswana Development Corporation (BDC)’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Ms. Boitshwarelo Lebang-Kgetse who touched on BDC’s mandate.

She explained that BDC’s passion lie within driving the industrialisation of the country through commercially viable enterprises, integrating Botswana into the world economy through commercial investments and partnerships and creating large scale export-orientated businesses “This is very much aligned to SACU’s Industrialisation agenda.”

“Strategic partnerships and Cooperation in industrial development at a regional level will stimulate investments in new industries and strengthen existing ones into competitive industries, in order to increase their participation in global trade, by developing both production (high value-added activities) and trade-related capacities,” she said.


Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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