Botswana: Ministry Facilitates Buyer-Seller Relations

Gaborone — Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has developed a supplier's directory to provide seamless information dissemination to Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by sector by region.

Speaking during a media conference in Gaborone on August 20, the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Ms Bogolo Kenewendo said the initiative would help improve networking among businesses, reduce transportation costs as services could be sourced close by and most importantly improve SMEs competitiveness.

She said it was the ministry's mandate to create a conducive environment for the promotion of investment and development of sustainable industries and trade.

Ms Kenewendo said this was done with a view to diversifying and growing the economy, createing wealth and employment, so that there was prosperity for all.

"The ministry has also developed a business development starter pack, which contains information on services offered by various institutions that play a critical role in the development of entrepreneurship and SMEs in Botswana.

The standards catalogue, which entails all the standards of locally produced goods and services with a view to promoting certification has been established too," said Ms Kenewendo.

The minister further revealed that the ministry was providing market access for local manufacturers' products through market streets.

'The purpose is to showcase locally produced goods to enhance their visibility.'

Ms Kenewendo said the first market street was in July 2018 and the second one was held on March 2 this year in Gaborone and attracted 111 participants out of the 183 invited. The next market street is scheduled for September 21 in Gaborone.

The minister also stated that in an effort to further facilitate buyer-seller relations, the ministry through Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) came up with PushaBW Initiative, which is a buy Botswana campaign.

BITC, she said, was in the process of producing a television show entitled #PushaBW makes it in Botswana Television and Radio, which will showcase locally manufactured products and their production processes.

The show is currently being aired on BTV until October 30, she added.

In continuous efforts to develop SMEs, Ms Kenewendo said the ministry through the assistance of UNDP was implementing the supplier development programme.

The programme aimed to build production capacity for SMEs as well as link them with procuring entities. "This is done through assigning trained local consultants to selected SMMEs, who will then build their capacity and link them with the selected buyers," she said.

She pointed out that Technoserve company had been contracted to provide advisory and mentoring services for a three-year period starting in 2019/20. The Programme is planned to support more than 330 businesses and 500 youth and will support 3 040 jobs.

Minister Kenewendo noted that as a way of promoting citizen economic empowerment, the ministry signed commitments with ten clothing retailers.

These include Edcon, Pepkor, Foschini, The Branded Clothing Company, Fashion World, Frame Leisure Trading Botswana, Cotton On Botswana, MRP Botswana, Woolworths Botswana and Cash Bazaar.

Approximately P260 million worth of goods have been secure from local producers, said Ms Kenewendo.

"On food retailing, companies such as Shoprite and Woolworths support over 40 different local manufacturers, who supply them at an estimated value of over P235 million.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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