Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) partnered with the Francistown City Council (FCC) to deliver the inaugural Francistown Investment Forum (FIF) from the 19th to 21st August 2014 in Francistown. During this informative forum, a robust investment strategy in relation to a detailed Export Development and Trade, and FDI attraction strategies were unveiled.
Adding onto the above, sector packaged investment opportunities were also unveiled before looking at quick win projects. These are investment opportunities that the region is currently selling to both national and international investors. Hosted under the theme “A step forward to your investment” the forum presented an opportunity to Batswana and their global village counterparts to invest in the vast opportunities presented by the city.
The forum aimed to promote and position Francistown as an investment destination for both national and foreign investors, promote joint partnerships between the Francistown business community and those from other regions in Botswana and abroad. Moreover, the Forum promoted access for both local and international investors to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and East Africa.
During this forum, the role of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the economic transformation of Botswana, with special emphasis on the industrialisation of the Francistown region was touched on by the BITC representatives whilst Metropolitan Botswana enlightened the participants on best ways of leveraging pension funds to create wealth management and infrastructure development in Francistown.
Leading industry experts, business leaders, potential investors and exhibitors graced the memorable occasion, and these included participants from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Gabcon, Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Barclays Bank of Botswana and Debswana amongst many others. One of the critical discussions during the Business Forum related to the localisation of major imports through the Economic Diversification Drive, with special emphasis on positive and sustainable economic impacts on the greater Francistown region.
Botswana has been importing over 70% of both consumable and non-consumable products from South Africa for decades. A critical question was raised pertaining to solutions that would narrow economic gaps between South African and local manufacturers. Francistown is the gravity of mining activities in Botswana, therefore a discussion on the opportunities of mining companies partnering with local government to advance economic development in the region was a matter which would not be left untouched.
The Francistown Investment Forum ushered an era of opportunities and a gateway to untapped markets of the region, Africa and the rest of the world. Born over hundred years ago, the city of Francistown and its immediate surroundings is home to over 70% of the mining activity in Botswana. Gold, Copper, Nickel, Uranium, Diamonds, Soda Ash, Salt, Coal, Iron, Limestone and Silver are what make this region a leader in Botswana’s mining sphere.
The city dubbed the “Ground gateway to the rest of Africa” sparked the African gold rush in the 1800s and now the region is pioneering the next level of economic industrialisation, commerce, mining, and agriculture sectors. With strategic geographic placement that gives access to a market base of 200 million people, boasting of an international standard airport, good rail and road connectivity, abundant water and land resources, reliable energy supply, divine scenic views, endowed with rich untapped mineral resources and diverse culture, Francistown is truly the city of all things precious.