BITC following leads on possible mining and agribusiness investors
A return to the glory days of old could be on the horizon for Francistown with anticipated new economic activity expected to revive the second capital’s dwindling fortunes.
According to the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) Director of Business Facilitation, Anthony Sefako, investors continue to show interest in setting up businesses in Ghetto.
Presenting on issues of Investment Promotion in Francistown during last month’s Full Council Session, Sefako announced BITC is currently following leads of potential investors in mining, manufacturing and agribusiness.
He proudly revealed that since officially opening their office branch in February, BITC has been interacting with the Francistown business community and the city leadership, and have already made over 50 introductory visits to business owners in and around the city.
“It is our duty to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and Domestic Investment to facilitate new and existing businesses with authorisation such as investor permits, licensing, and other clearances,” he explained.
Sefako further told the Council part of BITC’s mandate is to identify administrative policy and regulatory issues that could be barriers to investment and take them to the relevant authority to ensure a space conducive for investment is created.
“Since setting up office here, we’ve been able to easily reach our clients in areas such as Selebi Phikwe, Nata, Letlhakane, and Maun,” he added.
Francistown, he noted, is a one-stop business service centre, which has made it easier for them to monitor and capacitate businesses in and around the city.
“We’ve so far facilitated more than 90 work and residence permits for businesses in and around Francistown,” he said, adding they are also looking at helping other businesses to expand beyond F/town and Botswana.
“We’re also currently following leads where investors have shown interest in establishing their businesses here. Some of the sectors earmarked include manufacturing, agribusiness and mining,” declared Sefako.
The BITC Business Director, Gaorekwe Gaorekwe also gave the second city impressive reviews in terms of its readiness to welcome investors.
“One factor that makes Francistown attractive is its accessibility,” Gaorekwe noted.
“With the airspace opening up, we’ve seen the arrivals of Kenya Airways and recently Qatar, which makes us believe that exciting times are here,” quipped the optimistic Business Director.
He predicted that the proposed Mosetse/Kazungula railway project would also give Francistown a competitive edge and make it even more attractive to investors.
According to Gaorekwe, BITC has 2.4 hectares of land in the city earmarked for factory space.
However, he warned the creation and preservation of jobs will be difficult to achieve unless citizens prioritize buying locally produced products.
“Buying local products must be something we do religiously. It must become a habit!” he stressed.
Acknowledging there have been complaints about the quality of locally produced products from clients, Gaorekewe said it was important to make a conscious decision to buy local products despite the challenges.
“Perfection of quality is an ongoing thing, what we want is a deliberate effort from us to buy local. If we do that we’ll be creating and preserving jobs for our fellow Batswana,” maintained Gaorekwe, adding that buying locally made products could go a long way in reviving Francistown’s economy.