Gaborone — A leading Italian healthcare group, Grupo San Donato jetted in on June 19 evening to explore medical investment opportunities available to Botswana.
The group arrived in Botswana after attending the US-Africa Business Summit in Mozambique this week and was accompanied by Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Unity Dow and Minister of Investment Trade and Industry Ms Bogolo Kenewendo.
Speaking during a brief media session in Gaborone upon arrival, Ms Kenewendo said such visits were a testament of all the good work that had been done in the past to remodel the country's investment ambitions.
"We are quite privileged to have your team with us here, we are open for businesses and are here to facilitate you.
We have been told that we've build really goodwill in the world and I believe those results are starting to show," she said.
Ms Kenewendo said Botswana had in the past spent a lot of time re-branding, selling itself to the world and visits such as Grupo San Donato's was an indication that people were starting to listen as interest was building up.
For her part, Dr Dow said Botswana's intention was to position itself as a health hub.
She said the initiative to invite Grupo San Donato, which was facilitated by Botswana's Ambassador to the US Mr David Newman, was an indication that there was need for a deeper conversation.
"We indicated how possible it is to invest in Botswana," she added.
Grupo San Donato chairperson, Mr Kamel Ghribi said the invitation to come to Botswana was a beautiful thought that could not be declined.
"We are here to explore what we can have together.
We both have needs and wishes and we would like to sit and explore, we want to explore our know-how, technology, and match the needs for Botswana and our group," he said.
Mr Ghribi explained that the group was a healthcare leader in Europe, owning 20 hospitals, employing 16 000 people.
He said they were in Botswana because they wanted to make a difference.
For his part, the group's president, Mr Paolo Rotelli said Botswana was a great healthcare platform that needed to be seen.
He said they came to appreciate the opportunity and hoped for good results from their trip.
Meanwhile, the delegation yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi.
In an interview after the courtesy call, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele said government continued to fast-track and facilitate private sector involvement through Public Private Partnership such as the envisaged one with Italy's leading healthcare group that offers world class healthcare system.
Dr Madigele said bringing in the expertise would assist in supporting government's plan to commission the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital into a sub-specialist referral facility.
"We have been referring patients for specialist services to South Africa for various ailments such as pediatric oncology, orthopedics surgery and ophthalmology," he said, adding that the ministry had had several discussions with potential investors in the healthcare industry in order to grow the sector.
He further said Botswana was positioned to become the hub of healthcare in the sub-region as well as SADC, which he said was possible since Botswana boasted of peace, stability and good governance.
"For good health we need human resource, infrastructure including equipment, systems in terms of technology, innovation and supply chain as well as logistics.
So as we approach such partnerships as these, we look at the whole array of various things that are required for functionality of this business," he said.
He assured the group that Botswana would embark on a benchmarking exercise and explore areas of medical cooperation.
Source : BOPA