The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), formed in 2012 through the merger of the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) and the Botswana International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), aims to lead the way in Botswana’s drive to diversify its economy, boost exports, attract FDI, support private-sector growth and create more jobs. Letsebe Sejoe, CEO, explains that the BITC will also partner with the government to promote the country globally.
At the launch of the BITC in 2012, Botswana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, noted the important role the government expects the BITC to play. She commented, “The BITC is modelled in line with the goals of key national policies and strategies such as the Economic Diversification Drive, Botswana’s tenth national-development plan and Vision 2016. It will continuously look for investment projects that will generate employment for Batswana, enable the transfer of skills and technology, and explore the various sector value-chains further.”
“The BITC will assume a results-oriented approach and a stronger focus on investment promotion and export development with a clear focus on branding Botswana internationally. Competition is getting more and more intense, but we believe that we can attract investors into the country,” Letsebe Sejoe points out. The BITC is developing investment incentives and trade-promotion initiatives to make sure that Botswana is an international investment destination of choice.
To streamline the investment process and simplify business start-ups, the BITC offers one-stop-shop services, including administrative support aimed at facilitating business registration, licensing, work and residence permits, and other tasks for investors. The BITC also provides information and advice to potential and existing investors to help them make a success of their business ventures in Botswana, and works with the government to identify and correct any bureaucratic or administrative hurdles involved in investing in the country.
One of the BITC’s recent projects is a weekly 20-minute TV programme, “Doing Business in Botswana”, broadcast on CNBC Africa. The programme provides an in-depth look into Botswana’s business sector and investment opportunities. Letsebe Sejoe says, “We have reached a crossroads where we need to step up the game and start being more aggressive in marketing the country. Botswana is not well known, yet people out there know about the Okavango delta. Botswana is an economic success story, and we need to tell the good Botswana story to an audience of influential people.”