PRESIDENT MASISI SELLS BOTSWANA TO SWISS INVESTORS- The Swiss business community has been encouraged to view Botswana as an attractive investment destination and a base to do business and expand into southern Africa.
The call was made by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in a meeting with select Swiss business leaders in Geneva on Tuesday.
Discussions during the meeting were around luxury goods, precious stones, high end tourism and economic diversification amongst others.
"When we go after our investors we focus sharply. Though we have a small population we have a number of comparative advantages. We would like you to look at Botswana as a base to do business and a base to expand your business in the region," he said.
President Masisi described Botswana as a place of refuge and operation with a government prepared to facilitate that.
"In our long term vision, our economic outlook into the future, we would like to transform to a knowledge based economy premised on a determination to export our knowledge, our skill, our goods and products. I don't see why you wouldn't want that? We have what it takes, trust us we would trust you," he said.
President Masisi shared Botswana's historical journey, political progress and good governance since the attainment of independence.
He said the country was lucky to have brought in development partners who helped to deal with some most intractable challenges adding that "we are agile, structured and postured and we stand ready to welcome you.
In this new dispensation we are committed to doing what it takes to not only roll out the red carpet but to facilitate you whenever you meet a hurdle, it is our primary responsibility to sort it out".
He said the fortitude and resolve of the country's predecessors galvanised its people with strong commitment to nationalistic creed and patriotic disposition as well as addiction to the rule of law.
"We borrowed from the Brits, the British Westminster parliamentary system, constituency based and multiparty democratic dispensation. It was so strongly felt in the early 60s and late 70s when it was very fashionable and associated with Africanism to be one party state, we rejected that. We remain addicted to the rule of law," he said.
Dr Masisi said Botswana hatched out the longest and oldest private public partnership when it collaborated with DeBeers soon after independence.
"We came from a very frail position in terms of capacity to negotiate or even bear technological competence to deal with mining. We were able to sit around a table and hatch out a deal like no other in the world," he said of the partnership.
In an interview, Mr Hugues Jucker of Graff Diamonds International noted that Botswana had a perfect reputation globally.
The company's association with Botswana is through its acquisition of the country's historic gemstone Lesedi La Rona unearthed at the Lucara Karowe Mine.
English jeweler Laurence Graff, chairman of the company, purchased the world's most valuable rough diamond weighing 1109 carats. (BOPA)