Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse has urged Swedish business community to increase trade flows between Botswana and Sweden.
Despite the longstanding bilateral relations between Botswana and Sweden trade between the two countries has remained negligible with the balance of trade in favour of Sweden.
Seretse is currently in Sweden on a state visit with the President Lt. Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama. Speaking during the Sweden-Botswana Business Networking lunch on Tuesday, Seretse highlighted that Sweden exports to Botswana increased from US$3.7 million in 2015 to US$5.2million in 2016 with the exports products mainly being telephones.
“There is an opportunity to increase trade flows between Botswana and Sweden, especially through the recently signed SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. My government is keen to explore the Open Trade Gate Sweden to assist Botswana companies with market entry information and strategies to effectively export to Sweden,” said Seretse.
Swedish companies have over the years invested a total of US$57.3 million in Botswana with corresponding employment levels of 269 people. Seretse was encouraged by the increasing level of interest by Swedish companies to invest in Botswana. “I would like to take a moment to openly invite other Swedish businesses to consider utilising Botswana as an effective launch-pad for your investment interests in Africa,”
He said the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty between Botswana and Sweden, which came into effect in 1993, should have facilitated more investment by Swedish companies into Botswana than currently recorded.
“The low investment levels may be a sign that we did not effectively expose each other to the abundant investment opportunities that exist between our two countries,” said Seretse. He also highlighted that the ministry is currently in the process of drafting a business facilitation law that will cause consequential amendments to many of the current laws that impact the ease of doing business in Botswana.
Botswana has also been working with the World Bank Group to formulate a Doing Business Reforms Roadmap, which brings compelling administrative reforms to ensure quality service standards and quick turnaround times in facilitating investors.