- Says Switzerland is consistently ranked world’s most competitive economy
- Notes strong fundamentals in public health, education and reliable infrastructure of Switzerland
- Says Botswana is often hailed as “the Switzerland of Africa” owing to its prudent management of the economy
Botswana is on a continuous drive to identify new partners for development because the need for the country to achieve economic transformation cannot be overemphasised, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.
Addressing the Botswana-Switzerland Business Forum in Gaborone recently, the President stated: “We have ambitious targets as a country to reach high income status by 2036 underpinned by a diversified, export-led and knowledge-based economy.
“Our aspirations today are to proactively engage with our global friends and interest them to partner with Botswana for sustainable economic projects.
“We are alive to the ongoing challenges brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the unsettling geopolitical landscape occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine war which poses a serious challenge, but we remain resolute to achieving our goals.”
President Masisi said Botswana can learn a lot from Switzerland because the country has consistently been ranked by the World Economic Forum as the world’s most competitive economy for many years.
“Switzerland is built on several strong fundamentals, including public health, primary education and a comparatively solid macroeconomic environment,” he asserted. “In comparative terms, Botswana has often been hailed as the ‘Switzerland of Africa’ owing to our resilience and prudent management of the economy.
“It is for this reason that Botswana is committed to create conditions for doing businesses that are attractive for investment, creating a facilitative regulatory environment, supportive infrastructure, and a competitive and highly productive workforce. We aim to open our economy to the world and to make foreign investors feel most welcome.”
Flexible labour laws
President Masisi noted that Switzerland is documented as being home to several multinational corporations in the areas of pharmaceuticals, manufacturing (watchmaking), machinery, and banking.
“Other key economic indicators include low levels of taxation, high standards of education, reliable infrastructure, and flexible labor laws,” he said. “These render the country a particularly attractive destination for foreign investment, which in turn helps the country to retain its competitive edge.
“These key sectors align perfectly with Botswana’s priority sectors and provide an attractive opportunity for Swiss businesses seeking to invest in emerging sectors such as mining beneficiation (diamonds, soda ash etc), financial and business services, commercial agriculture and agro-processing, cargo and logistics, manufacturing, and ICT to consider Botswana for their Africa operations.”
President Masisi noted that investment opportunities also exist in agro processing for businesses that wish to invest in Botswana. “In 2021, Botswana imported commodities valued at $8.2 billion of which 12 percent was food commodities,” he said.
“There is scope for import substitution to meet our basic needs and to establish export-oriented production to service global markets. Our small stock and beef sectors need partners that can drive increased adoption of smart farming and precision agriculture to increase our farm productivity and create knowledge to further support our farmers.
“Opportunities exist in the agricultural sector to set up self-sustaining smart farms that can produce in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner.”