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Kasane Airport to enhance tourism, trade, investment

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The recently launched complimentary Wi-Fi access at all Botswana international airports is expected to close the gap that existed as a result of lack of free internet service. The project, a brainchild of the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) in collaboration with Botswana Fibre Network (BOFINET), was launched at the occasion of the Civic Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) official opening of the Kasane International Airport last week in Kasane.

Visitors coming into Botswana either on business or pleasure will now enjoy free internet access at these airports; Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Francistown International Airport, Kasane International Airport and Maun International Airport. According to Director of Corporate Communications, Kutlo Moagi, in their efforts to bridge the gap, in addition to the collaboration with BOFINET, BITC engaged a local service provider, MetroTech to provide internet services for all the four airports. Moagi said the project is part of improving broadband connectivity and in keeping up with global trends.

“As you are aware, access to internet or connectivity is an enabler for doing business,” she said. She added that as part of improving “our ease of doing business and to remain globally competitive as a country, it is imperative that we continually strive to eliminate all impediments to doing business.” As part of accessing complimentary internet services, users will be required to answer some basic questions relating to their experience with immigration as well as the purpose of their visit into Botswana.

In this way BITC believes that they will further gauge the quality of service standards at all points of entry. Phuthego Chere of MetroTech, the local IT Company that provides a portfolio of internet services concurs that this service will go a long way in enhancing a travelers’ experience. He said prior to this arrangement, the lack of free internet accessibility in airports was frustrating for travellers. “Upon arrival the modern traveller wants to establish contact and even make accommodation arrangement, if they were unable to do so earlier, and this Wi-Fi access will alleviate frustrations associated with such,” Chere said in an interview. Chere said the service allows users to answer direct questions that will yield valuable feedback, which would help improve on challenging areas going forward. MetroTech specialises in internet services for home and business, networking solutions, cyber security and networking, peripherals store.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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