Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) is today (July 23) hosting a Business Forum for a business delegation China led by the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC)).
The business forum comes at a time when trade value between Botswana and China is at all time low. According to Li Hongbing, the First Secretary in the Economic and Commercial Counsellor's Office at the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China in Botswana, the trade value between China and Botswana was US$ 266 million.
Chinese statistics show that in the same period, the outflow of foreign direct investment from China to Botswana dropped 77 percent year-on-year to US$ 18.78 million, while the amount of FDI from China to SADC was US$ 1.07 billion.
These figures belie the expanse of China’s commodity exports to Botswana, which include among others, motor, electrical, audiovisual equipment and its accessories; vehicle parts, clothing and accessories; mechanical equipment and parts; rubber and its products; chemical fiber; steel and products and others.Meanwhile China’s main imports from Botswana were jewellery, precious metals and their products, mineral sand and ash; oil seed kernels, clothing and accessories. Li Hongbing explained Botswana Guardian that China-Botswana economic cooperation was underpinned by a trade agreement signed in 1986.
Sadly the agreement on promotion and protection of investment between the two nations signed in June 2000 has not entered into force owing to “legal issues,” which she did not enunciate. According to BTCL director for corporate communications, Kutlo Moagi, CCPIT, which is led its Chairman, Jiang Zengwei at this business forum, is a duly sanctioned state entity in China vested with both chamber of commerce mandate as well as outbound investment promotion. Li Hongbing told Botswana Guardian that Jiang Zengwei and President of Business Botswana, Gobusamang Keebine would also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the business forum.
Moagi wrote in a statement to the press Friday that the focus of CCPIT on Botswana is to establish wide connections and cooperation with relevant international organisations, trade and investment promotion agencies, commercial associations and the local business communities.
It is also committed to enhancing services for companies and making positive contributions to develop bilateral and multilateral trade relationships and the promotion of world economic prosperity. The sectors of focus for the Business Forum include Infrastructure Development, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Energy, Mining, Trading, Agribusiness and Information Communications Technology (ICT).
The business forum, which is officially opened by Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Moiseraele Goya, coincides with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to four African countries this week, during which he will also attend the BRICS summit in South Africa on Wednesday. Li Hongbing cobfirmed that this year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit will take place in Beijing in early September 2018.