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“Time to restructure the economy!” – Serame

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Serame feels Botswana should be a springboard to the rest of Africa, which boasts a market of 1.2 billion people, as well as the Southern African region, with a market of 277 million people.

With a decline in global trade and investment projected, Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI), Peggy Serame says this calls for restructuring the local economy.

Speaking at the opening of the Virtual Global Expo on Tuesday, Serame explained a restructured economy would ensure sustainable industries are built to produce for domestic and international markets.

“The Eurostat Alliances of 2019 has revealed that over 65 percent of goods exported out of Africa to Europe were raw materials, whereas imported goods into Africa, which is about 70 percent, are processed products,” highlighted the Minister.

She noted this provides business opportunities for investment into the value-addition of raw materials that the continent and Botswana are currently exporting.

“Botswana being land-linked to the rest of the continent should be the preferred destination for such investments,” stressed Serame, adding ‘vast’ investment opportunities exist in sectors such as energy, agriculture and infrastructure development.

Serame feels Botswana should be a springboard to the rest of Africa, which boasts a market of 1.2 billion people, as well as the Southern African region, with a market of 277 million people.

Despite disruptions to economies caused by the outbreak of Covid-19, the Minister noted there are emerging opportunities for online businesses, design, and promoting digital technology, healthcare, and renewable energy among others.

When giving a keynote speech at the Virtual Global Expo -held under the theme, ‘Using Disruptive Tech to Shape the New Normal in the era of Covid-19 and beyond’ – President Mokgweetsi Masisi revealed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook projected a deep recession this year.

This is because the global economy is anticipated to decline by 4.4 percent, whilst growth is forecast to rebound by 4.2 percent next year.

“In Botswana, output in key production and export sectors, especially in mining and tourism, has been constrained. Estimates show contraction in domestic output for 2020 at 8.9 percent compared to pre-Covid-19 growth projections of 4.4 percent,” he said.

Government has already devised an initiative to jump-start the economy by launching the Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan (ERTP). However, the plan requires over P14 billion to finance.

Turning his attention to the expo’s theme, Masisi said Botswana has identified disruptive digital technologies as a key area for economic recovery and transformation.

“We must prioritize skills development and capacity-building, digital infrastructure development, digital access, and international collaboration in the economic recovery trajectory, thereby enabling a ‘Global Economic Reset’ beyond Covid-19,” declared the President.

Although held virtually, this year’s Global Expo attracted 120 companies, both local and international.

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