New BITC strategy targets P8bn in FDI

Gazette Reporter

Under the captaincy of new-broom Keletsositse Olebile, new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC), the center is determined to attract more investors into Botswana.
Recently, BITC unveiled its new five year strategy in a media briefing, aimed at intensifying its pursuit against the elusive investor.
BITC was established in 2012, from a merger between Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) and the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). The Centre was established to promote both domestic and foreign investments, in a quest to diversify the economy of Botswana.
While some achievements have been made by the Centre, there have been challenges include unfriendly immigration laws, especially under former president Ian Khama that created unease amongst investors. Further, the BITC one-stop shop which sought to ease doing business, and to facilitate investment has not been able to prove its efficacy. Inside the new strategy, Olebile says those challenges have been resolved, and with effective policies, results should be visible.
The new strategy was effected this April 2018, as a continuation from the previous five year plan which elapsed in 2017. The previous plan according to Olebile, attracted P6, 1 billion FDI. A further P5,8 billion worth of domestic investments was achieved. BITC said during the previous plan, P10 billion worth of goods and services was exported, while 11 661 jobs were created during the process.
BITC seems to have taken a notch up. According to the new stratergic plan, which runs from April 2018 to April 2023, BITC has set itself a target of P8, 093 billion worth of FDI, counting from the period of implementation. Domestic investments targets are cumulatively set at P6, 020 billion, jobs at 11, 569 while the value of total exports is estimated at P19, 188 billion.
According to its leadership, BITC efforts have been satisfactory, despite operation al challenges and economic headwinds that handicap performance.
During the 2017/18 fiscal period, the centre assessed its performance to have been at 74 percent. During the period, BITC registered a 16 percent decline in comparison to the 2015/2016 performance of 90 percent, the decline which was as a result of the economic challenges according to BITC.
To support its new stratergy, BITC has accredited over 300 companies ranging from domestic and FDI companies which are receiving different facilitation services. These companies are in areas of Financial Services, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Mineral beneficiation. Under domestic investments, the investment Centre according to its boss, has been influential in regional economic development agenda by continuously engaging and supporting District Councils to facilitate for the development of their Local Economic Development strategies. It has also carried out regional mapping studies and documented district opportunities highlighting possible business opportunities for possible uptake by local companies.