President Mokgweetsi Masisi has invited Australian companies keen to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the potential market it has created, to seriously consider using Botswana as a hub to service the 1.3 billion African population.
Speaking at the Botswana-Australia Business Forum in Perth, Western Australia on Thursday, Masisi said Botswana is an ideal location because of her centrality in Southern Africa, sound road network infrastructure, good labour relations, political and macroeconomic stability, high literacy rate, stable workforce, adherence to rule of law and sanctity of contracts.
He added that the country also has a liberal, open low tax environment, as well as absence of exchange controls. These he said are just some of the attractive incentives that government offer in its quest to attract Foreign Direct Investment assuring that Botswana is ready to do business with Australian companies anytime.
The president is strongly convinced that trade between the two countries can still be elevated to greater heights even through initiatives such as similar Business Forums.
He indicated that sectors such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, Health, Education, Tourism, Mining, and ICT which government has identified as engines of its economic growth are possible areas of further cooperation between the two countries.
“Given our diversified mining portfolio which includes diamonds, coal, copper and nickel, as well as rare metals such as manganese, Botswana offers a good base for the well-established Australian mining and metals companies to do business in Botswana. By doing business within our shores, these companies will not only be servicing Botswana but the entire sub–Saharan Africa, as the region is equally blessed with the abundance of minerals,” Masisi highlighted.
He added that as government is also on a vigorous mission to grow the country’s cattle industry through the use of high-end genetics as well as to increase its small stock production and supply to countries with demand for it such as those in the Middle East region, they therefore, look forward to collaborating with Australia in both sub sectors given Australia’s unmatched prowess in livestock production.
Botswana cemented its bilateral relations with the Commonwealth of Australia when the country opened its Diplomatic Mission in Australia in 2003. According to Masisi, a steady growth since then has been witnessed in the two countries’ multifaceted cooperation model, ranging from Political to Economic Cooperation spanning diverse areas of mutual interest such as agriculture, mining, research, education, sports, governance as well as scholarship programmes.
“In 2022, Australia exported just over Forty Million United States Dollars (USD 40 million) worth of goods and services to Botswana whereas for the same reporting period Botswana only exported a meagre Eight Hundred and Eighty-Five Thousand United States Dollars (USD 885) worth of goods and services to Australia, signalling a balance of trade in favour of the latter,” said the president.