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Innovation, business sophistication still low in Botswana

Publishing Date : 19 July, 2018

Author : NAMETSO FRANCE

Botswana has continued to wobble in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) despite its international good ratings and favourable foreign exchange control, taxation and competition policies.


Compared to countries such as Rwanda and Mauritius Botswana`s investment climate has not been doing well especially investments towards infrastructure development and capital investments, Moatlhodi Sebabole, an economist with First National Bank Botswana highlighted.


 Sebabole revealed to BusinessPost that Botswana has regressed in comparison to peers like Seychelles Rwanda and Mauritius. Indicating that despite good macros, the doing business in Botswana environment remains relatively tighter on aspects of registration; work permits; access to utilities; tax submissions, among others. He elucidated that this has proven to be a deterrent for some prospective investments.


``The level of innovation and business refinement in Botswana is still stunted and thus hampering competitiveness,” said Sebabole adding that the business operational environment also underperforms on key business indicators which limit extent to which the country attracts new business ventures. Sebabole said that general investment measures and policies in Botswana mainly foreign exchange control, taxation and competition policies have not been used more as leverage to attract investments because the operational environment for doing business in Botswana is tighter and that hampers some FDI prospects.


 He explained that lack of implementation of business-friendly policies has acted as a deterrent to leveraging off the positives which include: favorable tax environment; lack of exchange controls and lack of limitations of repatriation of profits and/ dividends. He however said that as a means of attracting foreign direct investment and innovation, he recommends technological revolution. He emphasizes the need for full implementation of the e-governance strategy as an enabler for technological innovation and advancement.


 ``This calls for Policy adjustment which accommodates an era of leveraging on technological developments for industrialisation across sectors including agriculture and manufacturing.`` he said. However when revealing her roadmap two weeks ago , The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo said her ministry had devised an action plan to actively fight deterrents in trade and barriers to ease doing business.


The action plan by the ministry of trade and investment aims at promoting industrialization from both domestic and foreign investment. The essence is outlined as rendition of the much needed fiscal diversity. Kenewendo further said her ministry aim at easing the burden of doing Business in Botswana. ``Concerted efforts continue to be directed towards speeding up of implementation of the ongoing reforms to better the country`s ranking and attract Foreign Direct Investment into the country,” she said.


 It is through the Doing Business Reforms Initiative that legal statues have been passed to promote the use of electronic service platforms. She believes, implementation of these legal statues will cut down bureaucracy and ensure efficiency and effectiveness of some government processes thereby creating conducive investment climate for both domestic and foreign investment.


The special economic zones and co-operative transformation have not been left behind by the Ministry of investment as they remain a priority in citizen economic empowerment.Kwenewendo said, co-operatives continue to develop and implement initiatives geared towards co-operative growth, capacity building, diversification and sustainability.

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