In a bid to help government to diversify the economy, Business Botswana with the technical support of African Development Bank launched Private Sector Development Strategy II in Gaborone on Thursday.
The PSDS project which aims at helping government in its efforts to diversify the economy through increased competitiveness of SMEs and effective business support Institutions and to enhance product and market diversification. The project which is funded by the African Development Bank (AfD) through the fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) to the tune of USD 1.16 million is mostly targeting small stock, tourism and horticulture industries.
Officiating at the event, assistant Minister of Investment Trade and Industry Karabo Gare urged both government and the private sector to join hands and objectively contribute towards economic diversification through business linkages and partnership.
Gare highlighted that development of SMMEs remains government priority; hence they are developing E-Commerce strategy. The strategy according to Gare will serve as a framework and a guiding tool in facilitating e-commerce across all sectors of the economy.
"The strategy will assist SMMEs overcome their barriers to trade through formulation of new online marketing platforms," he said adding that that the strategy will be in place by June 2020.
Business Botswana President Gobusamang Keebine assured all the stakeholders that the project will not be another talk shop but they will ensure effective implementation and major success impact of beneficiaries.
"Business Botswana is always looking for ways to harness the competitiveness of SMEs and this project could not have come at a better time, when Government is accelerating policies and legislations geared towards improving the business environment," noted Keebine.
Acting Director General of AfD Dr. Josephine Ngure said that they look at the project as one of the most important interventions it has ever supported in Botswana.
"The project will assist the Government of Botswana to unlock its potential and diversify the economic and export base of the country into sectors that will continue to grow long after diamonds have run out," he said.
He highlighted that the approach is to target both product and market diversification in order to boost domestic and intra-regional trade.
Ngure said that the support to Botswana economic diversification project aims at strengthening small stock, tourism and horticulture industries through a number of interventions aimed at improving business linkages and partnerships.