Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry Molebatsi Molebatsi says the ministry does not have any deliberate plan to attract investors to rural areas outside Special Economic Zones (SEZs) through the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD).
Instead, the government leaves it to investors’ prerogative to choose areas to invest in anywhere they prefer in the country.
Molebatsi was answering questions from Molepolole Member of Parliament (MP) Oabile Regoeng who wanted to know what the government was doing to drive investment to rural areas.
However, Molebatsi told parliament that the Investment Strategy does not discriminate, but facilitates investors, both foreign and domestic across all parts of the country.
“The decision to establish businesses in different areas in the country is a business decision by respective investors,” said the Assistant Minister.
He explained that the attraction of investors in the country remains a long-standing priority for the ministry.
He said the ministry has undertaken a deliberate plan to attract investors in the country through the Domestic Investment and Retention Strategy.
“In this regard, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) conducted a Regional Opportunities Mapping across the country in 2011/2012.”
The purpose of the study was to identify available investment opportunities across various districts in the country to facilitate potential investors to those respective localities.
Molebatsi said the opportunities identifies include mining, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, fish farming, poultry, and energy.
Upon completion of the study, Molebatsi informed parliament that the opportunities were shared with Local Authorities.
“The opportunities were shared to contribute to the Local Economic Development strategies under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development,” explained the Assistant Minister.
According to Molebatsi, the Ministry through BITC continuously embarks on domestic investment outreach programmes to engage potential investors across the country to promote and stimulate regional opportunities.
Further, he said the ministry has engaged in linking potential domestic and foreign investors with Cooperatives, which is part of the broader National Co-operatives Transformation Strategy.
“The Strategy aims to develop new generation co-operatives based on modern business and practices,” explained Molebatsi, adding that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry is undertaking Supplier Development Programme (SDP).
The objective of the programme is to empower SMMEs by developing their productive capacities and linking them to potential buyers.