Vincent T. Seretse, Botswana’s Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, discusses his country’s FDI appeal. He also highlights new projects and strategies designed to enhance Botswana’s attractions as a base for business.
European Times: What are Botswana’s leading industrial sectors, foreign-exchange earners and trading partners?
Vincent T. Seretse: Our main industrial sectors are mining, manufacturing electrical products, and construction. Other main contributors to Botswana’s GDP are services (including tourism), ICT, financial services, and wholesale and retail sales. Botswana’s top foreign-exchange-earning exports are diamonds, copper, nickel and beef. Our main export markets are the UK, South Africa, China, Zimbabwe and Norway, in order of importance. Our main sources of imports are South Africa, the UK, Belgium, China and Israel.
European Times: Why should international investors choose Botswana?
Vincent T. Seretse: Botswana has achieved an impressive economic performance over the past four decades due to prudent macroeconomic management, consistent economic policies, political stability and good governance. Botswana has been consistently rated by Transparency International as the least-corrupt country in Africa and among the least-corrupt countries in the world. This clearly demonstrates that our government institutions are effective, efficient and transparent. For the past decade, international ratings agencies Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s have accorded Botswana the highest investment grade and sovereign credit rating of any country in Africa and one of the highest in the world. Although Botswana has a small population, it is centrally located and investors have preferential access to the SADC market of over 230 million people. In addition, investors enjoy duty-free, quota-free access to the EU.
European Times: What is the government doing to enhance Botswana’s investment appeal?
Vincent T. Seretse: Botswana’s E-Communications and Transactions Bill, the Doing Business Reforms Roadmap and Action Plan, and the new National Single Window streamline a number of business processes, and the ambitious Economic Stimulus Programme wherein, developing Special Economic Zones has been prioritised. Botswana has invested in good road, rail and ICT infrastructure, and the refurbished Morupule A and the new Morupule B power stations, along with several new dams, will give Botswana energy self-sufficiency and reliable water supplies. Investment incentives include a deductible training rebate of 200%, duty-free imports of machinery and equipment for manufacturing purposes, customs-duty exemptions on raw materials, a 15% corporate tax and a 25% personal tax, and negotiable tax holidays of up to 10 years.
European Times: What is your personal message to potential investors?
Vincent T. Seretse: My message is simple. Botswana is ready to welcome you and your investment. Our motto is, “Our Pride, Your Destination!”