Mokgweetsi Masisi, Vice President of the Republic of Botswana since November 2014, has had a prestigious career in education and the public service. He formerly served as Botswana’s Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration and as Minister of Education and Skills Development. He discusses Botswana’s ambitious development targets.
European Times: What are Botswana’s main goals?
Mokgweetsi Masisi: Botswana’s public and private-sector leaders share a commitment to the national agenda of diversifying the economy, increasing exports, and creating employment. We aim to stimulate sustainable economic growth that reduces poverty and mobilises the entrepreneurial potential of our people, in particular youth and women. We will also support the private sector, including Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and we welcome foreign investors. We are saying with one voice that Botswana is open for business!
European Times: What is Botswana doing to further improve the business climate?
Mokgweetsi Masisi: It is our primary responsibility as a country and as a government to put in place the necessary legislation and administrative policies to enhance the ease of doing business. We have done so. We have also created an environment conducive to private-sector development, including private-sector Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). But we should not stop there. We must continue to strengthen Botswana’s role as the hub of Southern Africa and to step up our cooperation with neighbouring countries.
European Times: What about Botswana’s relations with the EU?
Mokgweetsi Masisi: Botswana values our partnership with the EU within the framework of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the EU-Cotonou Partnership Agreement. Now Botswana, particularly its Minister of Trade and Industry, is the coordinator of the proposed full economic-partnership agreement between the EU and SADC. Botswana also cooperates with the EU under the fourth EU-Africa Summit Joint Strategy and the Roadmap 2014-2017, whose priorities are peace and security; democracy, good governance and human rights; human development; sustainable and inclusive development, growth and integration; and global and emerging issues. We are currently focusing on promoting sustainable and inclusive development.
European Times: What is your personal message to potential EU investors?
Mokgweetsi Masisi: Entrepreneurs in many parts of the world and in particular Europe are looking for new investment opportunities. The global consensus is that Africa is the continent of hope and economic growth, and Botswana is one of Africa’s star performers. We look to the private sector to score more goals. The message to the European business community and all potential investors is simple and clear: you are especially welcome to invest in Botswana!