African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a historic lending arrangement to Botswana, in the form of a three-year Country Programme of up to US$1.5 billion (on a net basis), with funding for up to seven years for eligible transactions.
The financing package has been designed to support key strategic projects underpinning Botswana’s Economic Transformation and Diversification Plan – with funding allocated to road, rail, Digital Broadcast/ Creative Industry, Manufacturing, Local Content Promotion, Mining,export agriculture and industrial infrastructure. Afreximbank’s historic commitment to Botswana brings to conclusion a comprehensive process of consultation and analysis which saw close collaboration between Afreximbank and the President of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency, Dr. Eric Masisi, Ministers of Finance, Trade and Industry, the Governor of Bank of Botswana, Botswana Investment and Trad Corporation( BITC) Special Economic Zone Authority, among others.
Afreximbank’s lending commitment will support Botswana’s National Development Plan, which sets out the country’s aspiration to become an export-led and high-income economy by 2036, driven by an annual growth rate of 10%, and industrial contribution to GDP of 45%, as well as significant innovation capacity with 4.5% of the national budget directed towards research and development.
The Bank’s contribution to this ambitious national effort was announced by Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank, who was warmly received by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, at the official opening of the Global Expo Botswana 2022.
Managed by the government and attracting exhibitors and guests from across the region and the globe, the event constitutes Botswana’s foremost international multi-sectoral business-to-business exhibition.
Speaking at the Global Expo, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, reaffirmed Botswana’s commitment to working to ensure that the country provides a conducive environment for trade and business to take place with ease in the country. He said:
“I wish at this point to assure you that the Government of Botswana remains committed to improving and creating a conducive business environment to enable the private sector to thrive. We have set up a platform through our Investment Promotion Agency, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), to provide those interested in investing in Botswana with in-depth information and to facilitate companies to seamlessly set up and operate in the country through the Botswana one-stop service centre (BOSC).”
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, the Global Expo 2022 Guest of Honour, gave the conference’s keynote speech, addressing the Bank’s vision for Botswana, highlighting the evolving role and implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in accelerating intra-African trade, and the Bank’s broader approach to, and plans for, facilitating increased economic interaction within the African continent. He observed :“Botswana has, like the rest of Africa and the world, experienced unprecedented disruptions in recent years, as a global pandemic and a major conflict in Europe impeded economic activity and vital supply chains. I am delighted that Afreximbank can support Botswana’s National Development Plan with this historic $1.5 billion facility, which will enable the country to construct the infrastructure necessary to realise its ambitious economic plans. I was honoured to meet with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi – both publicly and privately – and I am pleased that he and his government subscribe to the view that increased intra-African trade will be the vital factor in our continent’s continued development.”
While in Botswana, Professor Oramah engaged in various meetings with key leaders from across Botswana’s government and business community, promoting the collective awareness of and willingness to engage in intra-African trade and commerce.
The Global Expo Botswana (GEB) is now a well-established annual trade conference, having run successfully since 2006 – and has developed significantly from earlier iterations such as the Botswana International Trade Fair (BITF) and, later, the Botswana Industrial & Agricultural Fair (BIAF). As well as serving Botswanan businesses, the conference attracts exhibitors across the Southern African region, promoting intra-regional and pan-continental.