President Mokgweetsi Masisi has lauded the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) as a key corporate that has potential to spur Botswana into high income economic status.
When delivering the key note address at the 16th biennial National Business Conference (NBC) this week, President Masisi said government’s RESET Agenda seeks to accelerate economic development through key priorities such as value chain development, digitization, and mind-set change. President Masisi said SEZA can enable Botswana to take advantage of opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“We have invested in the development of SEZs targeting particular sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, health and other services. This includes the diversification of the diamond industry where we believe that as the world’s largest diamond producer by value, we should be Africa’s diamond jewellery manufacturing hub,” said President Masisi.
SEZA was established in 2015 and mandated with establishing, developing and managing Special Economic Zones in Botswana. This was meant to boost foreign direct investment and position Botswana as an export economy. SEZs are designated geographical areas that are governed by special administrative, regulatory and fiscal regimes which are different from those applicable in the rest of the domestic economy. SEZs are meant to overcome barriers to investment, enhance FDI inflow, increase exports and improve country brand competitiveness. SEZA is different from other investment attraction agencies in that it only attracts high value investors whose projects must have potential to generate export revenue and create large scale employment. SEZA also targets businesses that have a fairly high business replication index and are able to bring along their eco-system of suppliers and service providers to ensure greater value addition for the country.
President Masisi further explained that the implementation of the cluster development initiative will enable economic diversification and local economic development. Botswana is currently implementing four cluster strategies that include beef, small stock, tourism and financial and knowledge intensive services. “We remain committed to accelerating the attainment of our national priorities of economic growth, economic diversification and job creation,” said President Masisi.
Tsabong and Ghanzi have been zoned as livestock clusters that feed into the Lobatse meat and leather SEZ. Targeted economic activities at the zone will include canning, food processing, manufacturing of leather products as well as dairy production. SEZA is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that support programs like LIMID and ISPAAD are fully utilised to increase output in Ghanzi and Tsabong to support the Lobatse meat and leather city. There is huge potential for Botswana to export small stock meat to lucrative markets in the middle East. Botswana is currently constructing a P161 million multi species abattoir in Tsabong, as part of efforts aimed at improving the national small stock herd and exploiting existing markets outside Botswana.