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Spotlight beams on infrastructure financing

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Botswana has invested hugely on the construction sector

Public and private sector stakeholders are billed to convene and examine traditional and alternative sources of financing the country’s infrastructure needs.

Organisers of the inaugural infrastructure and asset owners’ forum slated for this week, MNCapital Group and African Alternative want to explore the role of pension funds and insurers in the country’s infrastructure financing ecosystem. “It will commence the industry-led efforts to address the lack of deep in-house experience which prevents trustees and investment committees from safely allowing their investment teams to invest in infrastructure.

“At the same leverage of the expertise of professionals and investors across Africa to develop infrastructure investment products specific to the needs of Botswana,” said Michael Ndinisa, MNCapital Group Chief Executive Officer.

Ndinisa said the summit is the first step towards developing an ecosystem of asset owners, fund managers and investment professionals with an appetite to invest in infrastructure. He further said the forum is ultimately a wake-up call to all stakeholders in the industry to come together for fruitful co-operation for the betterment and economic well-being of the country.

Some of the speakers expected include Gosego January, Chief Executive Officer of Debswana Pension Fund, Ahmed Attout, Chief Capital Markets Officer of African Development Bank (AfDB), Vuyo Hlompho Ntoi, Investment Director – Head of Southern and Central Africa at African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) and Nathaniel Munetsi, Head of Structured Finance for Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency.

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Market Street day supports local products

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo has encouraged citizens to promote and support local products thus contributing to employment creation and economic development.

Speaking during the ministry’s Market Street day on Saturday, the trade minister said the ministry came up with the initiative to expose local products to the national market. “The plan is to keep growing so that we get Batswana products in the shops and get Batswana to know the products in the shops,” said Kenewendo. Market street day was initiated last year as a platform to add on to the continuing efforts to grow local businesses. This year, retail sector, including Shoprite, Choppies and Ackerman’s from South Africa participated in the exhibition.

Kenewendo pointed out that supporting local products helps reduce export of jobs. “Most of Batswana will say they don’t want to buy locally produced goods because they are of low quality, we need to buy from them so that they grow. When we buy products from other countries we are exporting jobs, why should we export jobs?” she asked rhetorically. Economic diversification drive should not be a Government initiative alone, only but all citizens should contribute, she concluded.

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Botswana behind in ease of doing business

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Botswana has been challenged to improve easy of doing business for the country to remain competitive amongst its peers.

The Director of Investor Facilitation and Relations at Special Economic Zones Authority’s (SEZA), Neo Mahube recently told delegates at the two- day investment symposium dubbed Doing Business in Botswana, Transitioning Botswana that the country needs to be globally competitive.“The world is growing better than we are, there is something that we are not doing right, despite our political stability and sound economic policies,” said Mahube.

Currently, Botswana lags behind Mauritius, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa on the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. Mahube said bottlenecks that investors and local startups face to register a business should be resolved.

“We need to transform the way we are doing business, if we are to bring businesses to Botswana,” said Mahube, adding that the country needs to be as efficient as possible to start a business, apart from improving credit efficiency.

She however applauded government for legislation amendment initiatives that have already been put in place ahead of the transformation journey. Mahube said through transforming the ease of doing business the country has potential to create employment.

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