Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lonely Mogara says Botswana has adopted a ‘jobs strategy’ that seeks to create employment by weeding out restrictive policies and excessive bureaucracy in a bid to attract large scale foreign direct investment and boost economic development.
“Ours is a jobs strategy that will create a competitive business environment for the attraction of investors at our Special Economic Zones. In doing so, we will complement existing development initiatives so as not to duplicate resources,” he said.
Mogara revealed that Botswana has eight designated Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which are Francistown, Palapye, Lobatse, Selebi Phikwe, Tuli Block, Pandamatenga as well as Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) and Fairgrounds in Gaborone.
“In setting up these SEZs, we considered various factors, among them dominant economic activities in the areas, the comparative advantages of infrastructure and available natural resources,” said Mogara.
Botswana’s SEZ model encompasses Free Trade Zones, Export Processing Zones, Freeports, Single Factory Zones and Specialized Zones.
Free Trade Zones (FTZs) are fenced-in, duty-free areas that offer export, warehousing, distribution, trade and storage facilities.
FTZs are also ideal for light processing operations such as packaging and labelling.
Mogara said Botswana also has Export Processing Zones (EPZs), which are primarily targeted at large scale industries that produce for export markets.
At its EPZs, explained Mogara, SEZA will offer investors large industrial facilities for manufacturing activities, as well as incentives such as tax breaks, duty free imports and simplified administrative procedures.
“EPZs have great potential to generate export revenue, facilitate technology and skills transfer, drive innovations and create employment,” explained Mogara.
Other models include Enterprise Zones- which are intended to revitalize the economies of distressed urban or rural areas; and Single Factory Zones – which refer to cases where individual enterprises are awarded SEZ status even though they may not be located within the designated zones.
Freeports are the largest type of SEZ, typically encompassing much larger economic areas and able to accommodate all types of activities like transport, tourism and retail, with One Stop Services Centres.
“We also have specialized zones like the Science & Technology Park, petrochemical zones, logistics parks and airport-based zones,” said Mogara.