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Botswana to attend Changde business summit

21 May 2023

China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) is an important platform for China and African countries to forge strong partnerships in the journey of development.

It is an important measure of the ‘eight major actions’ of China-Africa cooperation announced by President Xi Jinping of China at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2018.

Deputy Moyor of Changde City, in Hunan Province, Mr Tan Ding said at a one-day conference in Gaborone yesterday that his visit with the Chinese delegation marked events to prepare for the third CAETE planned for Changsha, also in Hunan Province from June 29 to July 2.

He, therefore, extended an invitation to the government of Botswana to attend the summit, which normally was organised by Ministry of Commerce of China and Hunan Province every two years.

“The third CAETE plans to set up major activities, high-level forums, matchmaking negotiations, investment promotion, seminars, achievement releases, exhibitions and other activities to provide strength for China-Africa economic and trade cooperation to a new level,” Mr Tan said.

 He acknowledged that Botswana was rich in mineral resources, such as diamond, copper nickel, coal, soda ash, platinum, gold and manganese.

“Diamond reserves and production are among the top in the world. 

According to Botswana’s official statistics, Botswana’s proven reserves of copper nickel ore are 46 million tonnes, and the reserves of coal are 206 billion tonnes,” he said.

Although the two sides have no economic and trade exchanges at present, Mr Tan believes that with the further deepening of exchanges between Changde and Botswana, the rapid economic development of Botswana, the prospects for cooperation between the two parties must be broad.

“We hope that through this symposium we will further deepen our understanding, our friendship and strengthen cooperation between the two sides,” he said. 

It is also hoped that Botswana will strengthen the industrial cupping with Changde, the interaction with Changde enterprises, support Changde enterprises to seek cooperation and development in African countries, and contribute to the economic and social development of the two places, he added.

Business Botswana (BB) president, Mr Gobusamang Keebine said the need to host the Chinese delegation was prompted by the fact that they were actively working with the Hunan Province to open an office in the area.

“China is one of the world’s powerful country, over the years the country has had intentional direct wish to do business with Africa and Botswana is part of Africa,” he said, adding that recently Botswana signed the continental free trade area.

He noted the decision to open the Chinese Business Botswana office and the appointment of Mr Miles Nan as the director for Commercial Africa and Asia is based on Business Botswana recognising that they wanted to do business and move away from just buying in China.

He added, they want to ensure that when they are in China, they are for Batswana, to promote long standing business relationships between business people of the two countries. 

“We are looking at particularly SMME to set up strong relations in the two countries,” he said

Acting deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ms Seipati Olweny encouraged Chinese investors, specifically from Hunan City to explore Botswana in the areas of mineral beneficiation, tourism, pharmaceuticals and agro-processing, among others.

She said Botswana offered a conducive investment environment and was on the path to implement doing business reforms across many capacities over and above  achieving success in areas such as online tax filling, payment systems and construction permits, among others.

Luring the investors beyond the cited incentives, she said Botswana  was one of the stable countries in the region and provided investors with a high degree of safety and security as well as a strong focus on the rule of law.

She commended Mr Tan for extending an invitation to Botswana to participate in the coming (CAETE). 

She said the interactive expo opened the doors for Botswana companies to take advantage of the abundant trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

“Mr Tan’s visit aim was to prepare for the event, the government is ready to benefit from any information that will help Botswana’s public and private sectors to better prepare for any participation at the expo.” 

“I must impress on you that we have already started undertaking necessary mobilisation of key institutions both private and public to partake at the expo,” she said.

Ms Olweny explained that CAETE programme resonated well with Botswana’s national priority areas of economic and social development, noting that as the country aimed to achieve a high income economy by 2036, economic development through sustainable investment would play a key role in this endeavour.

 Further, she said Botswana saw  China and the Hunan Province as key partners for Botswana in realising many of the country’s economic priorities. 

“China has helped Botswana in the development of human capital, which is an important ingredient for any country that wants to achieve economic prosperity,” Ms Olweny explained. ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Idah Basimane

Location : GABORONE

Event : Conference

Date : 21 May 2023