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BEDIA CEO advocates for collaboration with China

GABORONE - Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) CEO, Mr Jacob Nkate has requested Chinese entrepreneurs to join forces with government in fostering entrepreneurship and improving competitiveness.

Speaking at a seminar in Gaborone last week, Mr Nkate said the global business environment is changing rapidly and it is upon government to seize the investment opportunities at its disposal for growth and development.

The purpose of the seminar was to provide a platform for the local business community to explore business opportunities and to discuss the possibility of partnership with the China Council of the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

The CCPIT delegation, which visited Botswana, comprised investors in sectors such as agribusiness, tourism, mining, logistics as well as construction and manufacturing which are essential for the growth of Botswana’s economy.

Mr Nkate said the business alliance between Botswana and CCPIT will help Botswana take advantage of the abundance of the natural resources to manufacture its own products.

He said China has grown significantly over the past five years and the government of China supports a lot of enterprises.

“We have some big Chinese companies that have been in Botswana for so many years and have enjoyed the support of the government to ensure their sustainability”, he said.

He said some of these Chinese companies are engaged in mega projects in Botswana and are contributing positively towards the economic landscape of Botswana and the region.

Giving a brief overview of the country’s investment environment, Mr Nkate said Botswana offers a sound investment climate coupled with various investment incentives.

He told the delegates that BEDIA has been set up to promote investment in the country with special emphasis on selected services sectors and export-oriented manufacturing.

“The authority operates a one stop service facility that ensures that all clearances, residence permits, work permits and land are obtained with minimal delays for existing and new enterprises”, he said.

Mr Nkate said, in its quest to diversify the economy away from minerals, government has also set up hubs that focus on promoting investment opportunities in various sectors.

He encouraged the CCPIT delegates to consider financing options offered by Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) which finances projects on behalf of the government.

The BDC has been financing products tailor made to ensure the success of the envisaged projects.

CCPIT secretary general, Mr Xu Hubin said their visit would help promote bilateral trade and investment between Botswana and China and will also deepen the economic relations between the two countries.

(Daily News, 5 April 2011)

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