The Botswana Export Manufacturers Association (BEMA) said the local industry should swiftly respond to expanding e-commerce and e-platforms in the region.
The Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Mmantlha Sankoloba said the electronic supported trade presents a huge market potential for logistics service providers that are able to respond to new consumption and supply chain trends.
She said the e-commerce and e-platforms are also hinged on growing demand in the region for high-end consumer products ranging from luxury goods to gourmet food. “Apart from upgrading physical infrastructure, we are hoping Government will continue scaling up efforts to groom more talent with various expertise to help support the growth of our transport and logistics services sector,” said Sankoloba.
This week BEMA in collaboration with USAID organised a transport and logistics workshop to create an excellent networking platform.The deliberations of the workshop are expected to enable the industry to formulate a strategy and roadmap for expanding the local transport and services.
Sankoloba believes that Botswana represents important opportunities for investors to connect with some of the world’s most dynamic emerging economies such as Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia presenting exciting opportunities for the logistics and transport sectors.“For the best part of the 20th and 21st centuries we were ignored and now we must harness all the available opportunities to be the center of trade between Africa, US, Europe, China and South-east Asia,” she said.
Apart from international trade, BEMA says intra-Africa trade has been expanding on the back of strong domestic demand and is expected to grow further as the formation of more integrated economic community takes shape in the next few years. In addition, BEMA is preparing to negotiate favorable deals with many of the international economic blocs to help strengthen trade and logistics for the country.
Sankoloba said BEMA will continue to lobby for the enhancement of local transport infrastructure. “Our focus is to ensure that Gaborone retains its potential competitive edge in multi-modal connectivity in air, land and rail,” said Sankoloba.She further said the growth of overseas logistics business will enhance Gaborone’s role as a super-connector linking Africa and the rest of the world.
On infrastructure Kazungula Bridge scheduled for opening in a few years’ time will expand both Botswana and Zambia’s cargo, adding to the Trans Kalahari Highway connecting Botswana to Walvis Bay, Namibia. The road link’s travel time is about two days which is less than half the time it takes for ocean going cargo via other ports.