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AIM conference to help developing countries attract FDI

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Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has joined the world’s leading platform for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) at the 2018 Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in the United Arab Emirates that started on Monday and ends this Wednesday. AIM this year hosts more than 40 country pavilions and 18 country presentations and investment destinations including Botswana that will promote investment opportunities in their locations. Others include; UAE, China, Georgia, Italy, India, South Korea, Egypt, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Jordan, Cameroon, and Nigeria. According to information from the BITC, Acting Chief Operations Officer, Reginald Selelo, Ambassador of Botswana to Kuwait and United Arab Emirates, Manyepedza Lesetedi and Mayor of Lobatse Town Council, Malebogo Kruger are in attendance. AIM’s top focused sectors this year are; Agribusiness and Agriculture, Energy and Mining, Finance and Banking infrastructure and Logistics, IT and Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Real Estate and Property, Tourism and Hospitality and Trade and Industry. The eighth edition of the AIM Conference is expected to assist developing countries to attract FDI.

The platform emphasises on learning and gathering knowledge. The awareness that workshop attendees will get from global experts will support them to improve their knowledge on FDI, world economic policies, sovereign funds of different nations, investments, business development and many other fields. Moreover, attendees will get certificates from higher authorities, which will empower them in future. In addition, investment promotion agencies in attendance will be trained to be proficient to promote investment, run roadshows and make intellectual investments.

The informative approach of this assistance will be combined with a tactical review of operational requirements through practical case studies. The theme for the event is ‘Linking Developed and Emerging Markets through FDI: Partnerships for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.’ There will be opportunities to network with business leaders and entrepreneurs for the international investment community, especially at the Gala Dinner and the AIM Startup Innovation Showcase and Pitch Competition.  AIM will be spread across 8 000 square metres of net exhibition space in which participants from 140 countries will promote their investment projects, opportunities, services and attractions. Meanwhile, FDI inflow into the UAE reached US$10.3 billion in 2017, according to the UAE Competitiveness and Statistics Authority up from US$9.6 billion recorded in 2016. This takes the total FDI stock of the country to US$128.94 billion in 2017. Dawood Al Shezawi, the CEO of AIM, said, “The UAE’s FDI inflow is a living testimony of how liberal approach and an ease in doing business is helping the UAE attract more investment. The UAE’s FDI stock now exceeds US$128.85 billion, which is significant and puts the UAE ahead of most countries in the Middle East. [Additional reporting by: AIMCongress]

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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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