Botswana Has Big ICT Dreams - Masisi

Capetown — Botswana has ambitions of digitalising its economy as a means of creating employment and attracting foreign direct investment, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.

He was speaking during a question and answer session at a business networking session organised by Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) in partnership with Deloitte Africa on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa 2019 held in Capetown, South Africa.

Dr Masisi said the country was currently working hard to step up its Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to deliver services in real time.

The President said with government determined to diversify the economy from dependence on minerals to a knowledge-based one, the intention was to turn around education and training systems to promote innovation and research through ICT.

ICT, he said, was considered an enabler. President Masisi said he was aware that due to Botswana's landlocked status, the country was deprived of a number of things that would enhance its ability to diversify.

He noted that government and the people of Botswana were alive to such conditions which he said should not deter the country from diversifying.

"For us being an orderly government is an advantage, we need to be orderly to be able to survive.

We must focus on our privatization, to take ourselves out of these negative conditions," he said. The President said the country was steadfast in becoming one of the most efficient countries in the world.

Giving an example of Botswana beef, he described as the best.

"We offer the best beef in the world - be it dietary requirements, its quality and its lack of chemical ingredients that might be intrusive to the body," he said.

He also said Botswana had the best wildlife resource because of its stewardship.

"That's a comparative advantage," he said.

Meanwhile, BITC chief executive officer, Mr Keletsositse Olebile assured President Masisi of the organisation's full support for his vision.

He said the transformation agenda was on course and that the private sector was delighted with the reforms put in place to ease doing business in Botswana.

"The affirmation from private sector, particularly people we interacted with, indicates that they welcome progressive reforms that are coming in," Mr Olebile stated.

He revealed that BITC was pursuing cross border value chains and other countries to see what sectors could be supported for the economy to be vibrant.

Mr Olebile said good lessons had been learnt through the Rwanda benchmarking mission noting that the country's development board model was attractive.

"We stand ready to promote and facilitate investment as an organisation responsible for the attraction, retention and facilitation of investments in the national economy," he said.

Mr Olebile called on investors to visit BITC anchor offices in Johannesburg, Mumbai, London and any of the 23 Botswana embassies to enquire and hear the country's brilliant story.

BITC, he said also has a one stop service for investors willing to diversify into Botswana.

The World Economic Forum for Africa Summit that takes place from September 4 to 6 is held under the theme: 'Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution'.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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