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Unlocking the opportunities & potential between Mauritius & Botswana

Hosted by the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) in collaboration with key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, the 10th edition of the Global Expo Botswana themed "Harnessing the power of emerging markets for economic growth" was held from 6th to 9th August 2019 in Gaborone.

The event saw the participation of key leaders from Botswana and comprised strategic thematic panels which showcased the plethora of opportunities for potential investors in Botswana’s lucrative market.

In his address, Mr. Geerish Bucktowonsing, Head of the Traditional Manufacturing Department at EDB reiterated the commitment of the Government to position Mauritius as a reliable trade and investment platform for the African continent and called for African countries to deepen their cooperation.

He further added that Mauritius will fully leverage on its geostrategic position to drive trade and investment into the continent thereby creating prosperity in the region.  Africa is rapidly growing into a new investment frontier with tremendous opportunities, the continent has the potential to become “the world’s next great manufacturing center’’.

On the sectoral front, the Economic Development Board is gearing efforts to incentivize Mauritian operators to explore and tap into new markets beyond South Africa which remains our traditional export market.    Botswana can serve as a platform and regional distributor to different points of sales for Mauritian products to penetrate neighboring countries with lucrative prospects such as Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique.

Over the years, Mauritius has earned a reputation as a high quality and reliable supplier with a number of key customers from UK, France, USA and South Africa amongst others. Mauritius exports around 1500 product lines to over 125 countries with a well-diversified range of products such as sugar, textile & apparel, seafood, electronics, jewellery and medical devices. Today, Mauritius is consolidating its trading platform for export and re-export of commodities to the region and Africa. Mauritius has exported MUR 11,6 Billion to Africa in 2018, out of which MUR 6 Billion to South Africa. It is no coincidence that South Africa is the biggest buyer of textile & apparel products from Mauritius.

On the other hand, Botswana is one of the most successful countries in Africa with an economic growth of 4.4 % and a per capita income of around USD 8,031 in 2018. The country is today well-positioned in international rankings and is a strong contender in the league of the best performing economies in Africa.

In this perspective, to further strengthen the partnership between Botswana & Mauritius, EDB has invited the Botswana Investment and Trade Center for a prospection visit to Mauritius accompanied by a business delegation comprising association of exporters and association of apparel buyers to take cognizance of the potential of direct partnerships. In his address, Mr. Bucktowonsing called both parties to explore the avenues of collaboration and emphasized that ‘there will be no full stop in our efforts to build solid ties with Botswana for we are like-minded countries and are equally ambitious to sustain the development of Africa’.

The CEO of the Association of Manufacturers & Exporters of Botswana, Mrs. Sankoloba, commended the idea of sourcing products from Mauritius for value-added activities which could be exported to other neighboring countries. She stated that ‘This step for direct trade will open the door for investment from Mauritius in view to penetrate neighboring markets. One should also explore exporting Botswana made products to Mauritius.’

EDB’s promotional efforts to build partnership with Botswana businesses is already reaping benefits. Liquorama, a major retail chain comprising 57 stores in Botswana, has been the first mover and has already confirmed orders for one container of island wine, rum, and other spirits from Mauritius.